Obeying the law needs no fanfare

The back of every road sign in Greece carries that very clear warning: «Any damage carries a maximum two-year prison sentence.» The statement is drawn from an old piece of legislation whose implementation was announced in an official press release issued yesterday under the heading: «An initiative by the minister of public order to tackle the damage of road signs.» It’s a welcome campaign, as the dangerous habit of placing stickers on road signs has gone too far. But the ministry campaign is also a cause for concern. Greece must be the only country in the world where the implementation of the law requires personal intervention by senior state officials. In fact, implementation of the law is so rare that it comes with a press release. The ministry’s press release would be funny if it were not so irritating. Respect for the law should not mandate ministerial intervention. Laws are obligatory for all and the state is supposed to make sure they are respected without fanfare.