Greek opposition slams government for failing to tackle wildfires, climate change

Government, Prime Minister Mitsotakis responsible for leaving country unprotected in face of wildfires, says main opposition SYRIZA party

Yayınlanma: 01.09.2023 - 10:13
Greek opposition slams government for failing to tackle wildfires, climate change
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The Greek opposition slammed the government on Thursday for failing to deal with wildfires and climate change issues, emphasizing the importance of a strong state apparatus to protect the environment and deal with natural disasters. 

Sokratis Famellos, the parliamentary spokesperson for the main opposition SYRIZA party, told parliament during an off-the-record debate on the wildfires that Greece requires a strong state apparatus to protect the environment and deal with the climate crisis.

"You left our country unprepared and inadequate for this danger," he said directly to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, adding that “the progression of the fires and their consequences are your political responsibility, Mr. Mitsotakis."

“After four years of government, and then the disastrous fires of 2021, there is no excuse, no room for apology, and you obviously have no credibility for the new announcements you will make today after a holiday,” Fammellos added.

He noted that the conservative New Democracy government led by Mitsotakis had once again proven incapable in the face of wildfires, as it had done in the deadly train accident in the northern town of Tempi in February, the explosion of a major ammunition depot near the central city of Volos in July, and the killing of a Greek football fan by Croatian fans in Athens, among other incidents.

All of these are the "achievements" of your so-called staff government, he mocked.

Another opposition leader from the PASOK party, Nikos Androulakis, said the country is constantly confronted with the government's "organized irresponsibility" in dealing with critical people's problems.

He argued that the government never accepted responsibility for major disasters and incidents that occurred during its rule, saying, "Mr. Mitsotakis did not recognize any mistake in the preparation of the state machine and wanted to convince us with numerical alchemy and sophistry and photographs that nothing happened in Evros and Rhodes (regions)."

“The destruction of our natural wealth and the degradation of the quality of life of citizens cannot be considered normal. The possibility of desertification is not a science fiction scenario but the future that awaits us if we do not do something together immediately,” Androulakis added.

Thanasis Pafilis, the parliamentary spokesperson for the Greek Communist Party (KKE), claimed that the government's excuses and pretexts cannot absolve it of responsibility for the lack of comprehensive fire prevention planning.

He alleged that the government is incapable of protecting the people, their homes and fields from natural disasters, and workers from industrial accidents, but it is capable and quick in implementing projects for businessmen and further involving the country in the war in Ukraine.

Mitsotakis, for his part, reiterated that the preparation against the wildfire this year was better. However, they were confronted with a mix of unprecedented phenomena.

"There were weeks with 500 wildfires, and we had extreme level 5 alert levels seven times," he said, adding that the state will immediately complete the compensation process for those who were harmed by the fire and restore the burned forests.

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