OPINION

Time to cultivate the rule of law

Zoniana may be the only place making headlines for being a pocket of lawlessness in Greece, but there are many other parts of the country that would also qualify. We are not referring to places rife with illegal arms and drugs, but to places with illegal garbage dumps that are slowly destroying the natural environment. There are many such dumps and they have been operating in defiance of Greek and European law for decades, as certain people turn a blind eye to the problem. The problem of small infringements of the law is endemic in Greece. It is not just citizens who continually break laws, but also the authorities, including municipal councils, as well as monitoring institutions such as the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning. When small crimes go unpunished, big crime is given room to grow. When the state itself breaks the law, it sets a bad example for citizens. It has become vital for a culture of legality to be cultivated in Greece and this is not achieved simply by drafting and enacting laws. It is constructed by constant and strict adherence to the law. When laws are broken the entire structure of the legal system is placed under attack.