June 6, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Greek authorities take action against the construction mafia in Mykonos after the beating of an archaeologist

The Greek government is taking action against a construction mafia on the island of Mykonos after a brutal beating of an archaeologist for refusing to approve illegal construction.

“The law will apply in Mykonos. The state is not being blackmailed,” Kostas Skrekas, Minister of the Environment and Energy, said on Tuesday, as the corresponding legislative initiative suspends the issuance of building permits on the undeveloped areas of the island. He emphasized that “the perpetrators of the criminal attack on the archaeologist will be punished”:

“Not a single illegal act, not a single illegal plan will be allowed to be legalized. I repeat, no blackmail and no loophole will work. Until a special urban planning is approved, which finally resolves all issues, they are suspended and no new urban planning permits will be issued for the undeveloped areas of Mykonos. The state is not being blackmailed, control will be carried out by the central service of the ministry.”

It is recalled that with the proposed agreement, the issuance of all building permits in the unplanned areas of Mykonos is suspended, with some exceptions, such as the renovation of legally existing buildings within the legal outline and volume, until the approval of the relevant special urban development plan is in progress.

According to the ministry, the Department of Architecture, Building Regulations and Licensing of the Ministry of Environment and Energy in Athens has been designated as the competent authority to issue the above permits.

Manolis Psarros, 53, a government archaeologist, was beaten by unknown assailants in Athens two weeks ago and left unconscious in the street to bleed to death. The victim was taken to a state hospital and is currently being treated at home.


Pictured: State archaeologists in Greece hold banners as they went on strike outside the Ministry of Culture in Athens on Tuesday March 14, 2023 to protest an attack on an archaeologist on the island of Mykonos that they say could be related to commercial pressure aimed at expanding the development of tourism. Archaeologist Manolis Psarros was beaten by an unknown man, with a possible accomplice, in Athens last week, leaving him unconscious and bleeding in the street. (AP Photo/Petros Yannakouris)

Archaeologists working for the Ministry of Culture staged a five-hour work stoppage to protest what their association called “a mafia-style attack.” Despina Koutsumba, head of the protesting association of archaeologists, reportedly said that Psarros has dealt with numerous cases related to alleged violations in Mykonos and has been called as a witness in lawsuits in these cases in the past.

It is worth noting that after the start of the construction boom on the island in the early 2000s, prices for building plots increased hundreds of times. For example: a plot of 150 m2, which in the 90s cost up to 1 million drachmas (about 3,000 euros), now costs at least a million, but already euros. At the same time, construction is prohibited in the historical part of the island without an archaeological examination, which can put a cross on any building if archaeological objects are found in the process of excavation.

Naturally, such a level of profit attracted the attention of the mafia and other criminal structures that have been working closely on the Wind Island for the past decades.

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