EC recoups cash after trees left to wither

The European Commission yesterday recouped 500,000 euros it had contributed in 1997 for the planting of 70,000 trees in Perama, southwestern Athens, arguing that 90 percent of the greenery has withered, apparently due to local authorities’ negligence. Perama Mayor Yiannis Glykas called on central government inspectors to investigate the extent to which municipal officials were responsible and press charges if necessary. He said the deduction of 500,000 euros from Perama’s coffers will have an impact on municipal employees’ wages. The EC first asked for its money back in 2005 after discovering that only 10 percent of the trees – planted in a bid to curb pollution and prettify the municipality – had survived. Municipal authorities had sought to suspend the decision but their appeal was rejected and the EC recouped the cash yesterday.