The government is trying to shrug off its responsibilities for the disaster in Mati by pointing to past urban planning violations but has failed to carry out thousands of demolitions ordered by courts on its watch, main opposition New Democracy’s shadow environment minister Constantinos Skrekas said on Thursday.
“There are now 1,639 irrevocable demolition orders that have been judged by the highest-level courts that could have been executed in the last 3.5 years and were not,” he said in a comment on the crackdown on illegal building announced by the government.
“They are trying to pin the blame on past planning violations when [Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras] was not in power and cannot be held responsible but the reality is entirely different,” Skrekas said.
He noted that a ministerial decision issued just days after the first SYRIZA-ANEL government came to power in 2015 had postponed the demolition of an illegal building in Rafina while a decision by a minister on October 19, 2015 asked for the entire programme for demolitions in forest and reforestable lands to be suspended in Spata, citing a reason that Skrekas dismissed as “an excuse”.
While mistakes in the development of Greece had been made, he added, the real issue in Mati was entirely different and the problem of town planning should not be used as a tool to distract public opinion.