OPINION

A gutter of irresponsibility

The European Union took Greece to the European Court of Justice yesterday for failing to install adequate sewage systems for collecting wastewater and facilities for the biological treatment of water in various towns and cities across the country. But that is not the only problem. Being taken to the European tribunal is no longer a surprise to Greeks, while no one seems to be bothered about the hefty fines imposed by the European authorities. On a structural level, the problem is that Greek governments have failed to promote even the most self-evident objectives. It is hard to explain why such fundamental problems have failed to prompt an adequate response from a state which strives to live largely off tourism and which, if we are to believe the words of political officials, is actually making plans in that direction. The list of towns and cities that were found lacking proper treatment of waste gives serious cause for concern. Many of them lie within the Attica basin, only a few kilometers from the heart of the state apparatus. What can one say about a state lacking basic infrastructure in the area which hosts some 40 percent of the country’s population? The infrastructure deficits are even more glaring in Greece’s tourist resorts, including those depicted in flashy advertisements. Newspaper ads might not come with a smell attached, but foreign tourists who are seduced by pictures alone are bound to experience the poor infrastructure after they arrive here, and then give Greece a bad name once they’ve returned home. It should not take a recommendation or fine handed down by the European court to design and implement projects that will reverse this unacceptable situation. Even if the EU did not exist, the state ought to act in line with the constitution and with common sense. The government must clean up this gutter of irresponsibility, starting by taking a few self-evident measures.