OPINION

Cosmetic institutions

The illegal quarries in Markopoulo, east of Athens, are more than just an environmental black mark in one of the most rapidly developing areas of the Attica region. The defiance of the two companies who continue to mine the mountain is nothing less than a huge test to see whether Greece’s institutions actually work as they should. Despite the government’s calls for the two quarries to shut down, these have refused to halt their activity, raising many questions. It has become clear that entangled interests on the local as well as partisan level have opened the door to extensions of operation for the two firms or, worse, brought law enforcement to a standstill. Moreover, it has become clear that the overlap of duties and responsibilities among the various state offices has facilitated the wrongdoers. It’s only when the quarries are shut down, as the prime minister himself has demanded, that we shall know for sure that our institutions are able to protect everyone, everywhere. Until then, we have every reason to wonder who is in charge, at least in Markopoulo.