By Penelope Galliou

A new “announced” front the government has to deal with, after all peasant mobilizations which are organized throughout Greece, with the leading ones in Thessaly.

The difference, however, in the mobilizations of the Thessalian farmers, which seem to worry and put more pressure on the government, have an additional weight and a substantial difference with those organized in previous years. The claims of the farmers in the area have as a starting point, or are strengthened, by the disasters that the agricultural world suffered as a whole, from the disastrous bad weather of last September “Daniel” and resulted in the total destruction of large areas of agricultural land, destruction of the livestock and also the agricultural equipment of the Thessalians.

Government sources recognize and understand the plight of the agricultural world, recalling that from the first moment of the disasters, the government immediately stood by the side of the affected, bringing solutions, under extreme conditions. They emphasize that this attitude has not changed the government is still open to dialogue on the problems and demands of farmers, in order to find solutions as quickly as possible.

“We respect the requests, we listen to them very carefully” said the government representative during the briefing of the political editors. He also explained that the political leadership of the Ministry of Rural Development has proceeded with very important actions, citing “a series of compensation payments, advances and to deal with the consequences of the unprecedented natural phenomena in Thessaly and as a whole”. According to Mr. Marinakis “the total amount of compensation that ELGA will pay is estimated to exceed 260 million euros. Advances of 150 million have already been paid and a series of funds have been secured, following the intervention of the Prime Minister, after the very intense natural disasters in Thessaly”. He also stated that the government listens “carefully to all farmers’ requests, we evaluate them, we try to solve problems in the fastest possible way. And I think, if you compare what happened in previous years, you realize that in times of crises, imported crises, there are a number of issues that are being resolved.”

However, the government representative as a few days ago and Minister of Rural Development, Lefteris Avgenakis, left tips for inciting farmers’ mobilizations from opposition parties, stressing that “there are certainly cases of political forces, which often accelerate some reactions in order to create tension”. Mr. Marinakis observed, however, that this does not concern the agricultural world or the Government’s policy, which, as he said, “is to solve problems of all farmers and all professionals”.

While the government’s intentions were expected to be clarified by the prime minister himself, answering today, during prime minister’s time in the Parliament, the topical question of the president of the New Left parliamentary group, Alexis Haritsis, about the restoration of the damages in Thessaly, the debate was postponed, due to the prime minister’s recent illness with H1N1 and the debate is postponed to next Friday, February 2.

In his question, Alexis Haritsis asked the prime minister to answer:

At what stage is the implementation of relief measures for the affected (first aid, rent subsidy, relocation, etc.) and rehabilitation projects, and what kind of favorable arrangements will the government make for the affected residents?

2. Will there be a holistic strategic plan with a specific implementation schedule to shield Thessaly from the consequences of such phenomena – and in the context of dealing with the consequences of the climate crisis – in the immediate future?