Parking fines irk minister

A recent clampdown on illegal parking in Thessaloniki by local authorities was slammed yesterday by Macedonia-Thrace Minister Margaritis Tzimas, who suggested that offenders should be fined according to the reason why they have broken traffic regulations. «Not all situations are the same,» he said during a conference on road safety in the northern city. «The professional is a different case to the guy who has parked on Tsimiski Street to have a coffee. He should be fined 250 euros.» Municipal police officers issue as many as 500 fines of between 20 and 80 euros per day, according to critics of the recent clampdown, who say that another 30,000 new parking spaces need to be created. Tzimas suggested the current economic climate means it is harsh to fine some people for parking illegally. «When you give an unemployed person or someone who earns 500 euros a month a fine for 150 euros, can they pay such fines?»