New projects for EAXA?

The demolition of the Korean Market and the creation of a green space in Kerameikos Square is the Unification of Athens Archaeological Sites company’s (EAXA) last major project. Still to come is the revamp of Monastiraki Square. Officially, EAXA came to the end of its 10-year existence on October 15. When the Culture and Public Works ministries set up the company, it had a specific end date. EAXA’s offices still operate as normal, as the state has never paid attention to the issue. The only people who are anxious are the 40 employees. Will EAXA get a second lease on life, given that the projects it instigates are still in progress, such as the revamp of Monastiraki Square? Or will it close down as stipulated in its founding document? On principle, EAXA President Kleanthis Griveas favors adhering to the legal regime, especially in the case of state firms charged with a specific task. On condition, though, as he told Kathimerini, «that they have competed their mission.» Does EAXA fall into that category? «The major challenges for the company and the center of Athens have been met. The Megalos Peripatos [sculpture event] took place, the archaeological sites have been unified, the third square in Kerameikos was created.» Yet, as he explained, there are matters outstanding, such as work on Ardittos Hill, Zappeion and Plato’s Academy. Is another state firm needed to manage those two projects? «Look,» said Griveas, «at the moment there is no equivalent body with the expertise of EAXA, not the Athens Municipality or public works services.» Both ministers view an extension «quite favorably.» In any case, Griveas doesn’t want any indefinite extension. «We are talking about five years.» He made another suggestion: «The company’s brief could be broadened to include areas outside Athens, in Piraeus, Thessaloniki and the historic centers of other cities.»