Headlines were made at the end of July after at least 80 people died while attempting to escape the lethal wildfires near Athens. While the scorching heat in the summer months was a clear cause of the fires, Ioannis argued that Greece’s troubled governmental state is predominantly to blame for this tragedy.
He wrote, “The explanation for how areas of Greece burst into flames each year is not simply a question of poor ecological management, building standards, fire prevention and fire-fighting capabilities. This explanation rests with the law and its enforcement.”
He continued that unlike Western Europe, it is possible to build without obtaining appropriate permits in Greece, and that the latest legislation enforcement has been celebrated as a ‘revenue raising exercise’ regardless of ecological management and fire security.
He concluded: “And so, enterprising sorts take advantage of fire in the forest, removing the barrier so that they can build homes without care for regulations, in inaccessible areas, on land they often do not own. The forest burns, people die, developers build, and votes are won.”
Ioannis’s piece was republished by The Independent, and led to multiple mentions in international press. He appeared as a guest speaker on the Greek television channel ΣΚΑΙ TV, talking about the Athens fire, and commented on Slovakian website Aktuality.sk, where he provided insightful legal context.
He also appeared on German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, Turkish news website Yurt Gazette and Spanish newspaper El Punt Avui, providing expert opinion on this widely discussed, persistent issue.