The Chinese news agency, Xinhuanet, decided that there was something to report from Athens: the fact that the 2004 Olympic Games were the most expensive in history.
The cost so far is said to be €9 billion ($11.6 billion, £6.31 billion) but, as Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis, this incredible sum does not include expenditure on infrastructure. Readers will, undoubtedly, recall that it is precisely the infrastructure that is supposed to be the reason for holding the Olympics in London in 2012 at an undoubtedly even higher cost.
Among the infrastructure are a new tram line, suburban rail network and the extension of the Athens metro system to the airport. The tram alone is supposed to have cost at least €267 million ($344 million, £187 million).
All previous estimates were considerably short of the figures so far and they are set to grow. The Finance Minister is insisting that the Games will not “place a serious burden” on the budget but the Greece’s deficit, which is supposed to stay at 3 per cent at GDP is likely to be double of that next year.
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