Il­le­gal use of pub­lic ar­eas tar­geted

Athens launches crack­down on bars, cafes us­ing squares, pave­ments for free

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The City of Athens launched a crack­down on heav­ily in­debted cafes, bars and restau­rants yes­ter­day by con­fis­cat­ing the ta­bles and chairs of one of the old­est es­tab­lish­ments in cen­tral Kolon­aki which had been placed in pub­lic ar­eas.

The ini­tia­tive is part of an ef­fort by lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to put an and to end to the il­le­gal use of pub­lic space by es­tab­lish­ments in down- town Athens, and to clamp down on those who use these ar­eas with­out pay­ing their dues to city au­thor­i­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to An­dreas Vare­las, deputy mayor reson­si­ble for the city cen­ter and the Mu­nic­i­pal Po­lice, the pro­pri­etor of the es­tab­lish­ment in ques­tion owes the City of Athens 415,000 eu­ros in un­paid rent. The es­tab­lish­ment, he said, has not paid rent to have chairs and ta­bles in pub­lic ar­eas since 2012.

“In order to have ta­bles and chairs he must pay his debts or come to some sort of in­stall­ment ar­range­ment be­fore a new li­cense is is­sued,” he said, adding that it is un­fair that ci­ti­zens have their prop­er­ties con­fis­cated for debts of as lit­tle as 1,000 eu­ros, while busi­ness­men mak­ing huge prof­its were get­ting away with pay­ing noth­ing. He clar­i­fied, how­ever, that the non­pay­ment of debts to the city was not the rule.

“There are many [pro­pri­etors] that do pay their dues,” he said, adding that most busi­nesses in Omo­nia Square have a clean bill of health when it comes to pay­ing their debts.

The City of Athens is cur­rently owed 325 mil­lion eu­ros.

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