NEWS

Greek gov’t eyeing fixes to daily life

ARISTOTELIA PELONI

TAGS: Fire, Politics

As the summer season comes to an end the government is keen to hit the ground running in September and to send the message that it is ready to provide solutions to problems in the daily lives of citizens. 

A case in point was the pledge on Friday by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to rebuild the the seaside resort of Mati in eastern Attica which was ravaged by deadly wildfires in 2018, using an urban reconstruction plan which, he said, will be ready in a year. 

“It is my personal commitment, and that of the government, to make Mati much better than it used to be and for it to thrive in a different, more sustainable way. And I think that’s the best way, after all, to finally heal the wounds caused by last year’s fire,” he said. 

The devastating blaze which led to the deaths of more 100 people prompted a furious outcry over what was described as a complete breakdown in the coordination of state services. 

Suggesting a new relationship between the state and citizens, Mitsotakis insisted that, despite its shortcomings, the “state can and will respond to the expectations of Greek citizens.” 

Mitsotakis also visited the plot which was recently cleared of 20,000 tons of charred tree trunks and branches – debris from last year’s deadly blaze. The clear-up was undertaken by crews provided by three Greek contractors within the framework of a program regarding corporate social responsibility. 

The crews started the clearing work on July 27 and completed the job in less than a month. 

Residents in Mati and the wider area had been complaining for months that the debris was a major fire hazard. 

“Turns out it was easy and simple to clear up this ticking bomb of a plot, but somebody had to do it,” Mitsotakis said in what was seen as a jibe at the previous government. 

The initiative reportedly saved the Greek state a million euros and, according to Mitsotakis, is symptomatic of a return to normalcy and an indication that the state “is present where it has to be present.”

At the same time, government spokesman Stelios Petsas announced measures to help Mati residents. These include an extension to the suspension of auctions, foreclosures and evictions until July 31, 2020. The suspension of evictions had been scheduled to expire at the end of September. 

Another measures concerns the extension of the deadline for mortgage assistance, which had already expired but will now be extended until the end of 2019.

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