Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed the government’s will to improve conditions in run-down neighbourhoods in Attica during a visit to the City Hall of Fylis and a meeting with Mayor Christos Pappous on Wednesday.
“I visited the municipality to send the message that there are no run-down neighbourhoods when there is a vision and a will to change things,” he wrote in the city hall’s visitors book.
Tsipras was briefed by Pappous on the work being done to improve anti-flooding, energy and building infrastructure, as well as redevelopment projects and social policy.
Concerning security, he said that apart from the new building where the Security Division of the Western Attica police will be housed, the municipality is ready to help the citizen protection ministry in any way it can to tackle the problem.
Speaking earlier at the opening of the new building, the prime minister said citizens in all regions in the country should enjoy the same sense of security, regardless of their income.
“Strengthening the sense of security in high-crime areas is not just a matter of operational adequacy but also a crucial issue concerning social cohesion, equality and democracy in our country,” he said. “Today, we are making a significant step to strengthen a sense of security for citizens, respect for the law and preservation of social peace. There can be no democracy wherever a citizen does not feel safe.”
He criticized what he described as the “selective policing” of previous years whereby regions of the country were ignored due to a “conscious decision” of respective governments.
“Safety is a right that concerns all citizens, not just those in privileged regions. Not just those with high incomes,” he said.
Commenting on efforts for the social inclusion of the Roma community and the elimination of social discrimination, he slammed the main opposition, citing the comments of New Democracy MP Thanasis Davakis, saying: “It is shameful, for those holding a public office like that of an MP and indeed a former minister, to reproduce such divisive and racist speech towards our Roma fellow citizens.”
He said political responsibility for such talk burdens the MP as well as the leadership of the party.
Tsipras announced measures to support the Roma community, such as the relocation of people living in run-down camps to decent accommodation, the full inclusion in education, work and health, a rent and electricity subsidy and the payment of a social solidarity income to poor families, under the condition Roma families send their kids to school.
Talking about improving security in the area, he said the local police directorate has been strengthened with 210 new policemen since last summer and the doubling of patrols in Western Attica which he said have decreased criminality.