European Commissioner for Health Vytenis Andriukaitis was outraged at Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis for disregarding legislation banning smoking in public places.
Speaking on the sidelines of an event marking World Cancer Day at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center on Athens’s southern coast on Monday, Andriukaitis said that he had been shocked to smell cigarette smoke in the halls and offices of the country’s Health Ministry during a visit earlier in the day. He reportedly also complained about tie
“It’s a shame! It’s a shame! This guy has no idea about health issues. Zero. The public opinion must denounce this kind of behavior” the heart-surgeon from Lithuania said in outrage, holding a picture from May 30, 2016. showing Polakis smoking during a press conference.
“Whether someone smokes or not is not a question of freedom of choice. When it takes place in a public space, it’s about human rights, because the people around him have the right to breathe fresh air,” the European commissioner said, according to kathimerini.
Two days later, Polakis responded to Andiukaitis with a post on his Facebook page. “I will stop smoking when I want to… OK ‘GUY’?” the often rude Alternate Health Minister wrote among others. “This guy [Andukaitis referred to] has been dealing with issues caused by the smoking for three years.” Polakis said further urging the EU Commissioner to get the proper information before he talks.
Polakis full post:
PS In his European ignorance Andiukaitis may be right. But I never saw an EU Health Commissioner to be in outrage for the more than 2,000,000 Greeks -victims of the economic crisis – who have been without medical care due to unemployment and lack of health insurance. It looks as if Commissioners and their helpers in Brussels have their own priorities, like criticizing a national minister following the hand over of a picture by Greek opposition (?). They may also be blessed for ignoring real important issues. after being handed over a picture other priorities can get angry about much minor issues and ignore the important ones.
Andriukaitis has been appointed to this position since 2014, that is when the bailout agreements imposed sharp cuts in health services expenditure, forcing millions of Greeks to either stop their medication or sharply cut it as they could not afford the imposed self-participation.