ATHENS – An amendment slipped into a foresty bill by a lawmaker who wasn’t identified has exempted unlawful tavernas at the popular Schinias Beach near Marathon from being demolished.
The tavernas, which have been operating illegally in Schinias National Park for decades in defiance of authorities, were ordered knocked down by the country’s highest administrative court, the Council of State.
The government, to get around court orders, resorts to changing the laws and this was done so again, granting the unlawful tavernas the legal right to operate for another year without a license. It wasn’t reported if they were being checked to see if they give receipts as tax inspectors have been going after restaurants and taverns for tax evasion.
Outgoing Marathon Mayor Iordanis Loizos told Kathimerini that the municipality has repeatedly shut down the tavernas following a final court decision in 2011 but the government has failed to proceed with the demolition of the buildings, which are owned by the Judges and Prosecutors’ Building Cooperative.
This came as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who wanted almost unfettered building on public beaches, parks and green space so Greece could bring in cash, withdrew the plan in the face of ferocious opposition from an array of environmentalists and ecologists who said he was selling off the beaches for a few euros.
It’s not unusual in Greece for developers to build wherever they want and then, if caught, required to pay a fine but allowed to keep operating an unlawful establishment.