The Consul General of Greece in Korçë, Ioannis Pediotis, has called on the Greek state to save a large amount of money and prove that the Greek presence in Albania is still powerful, but Greece has replied that it has better things to do. A magnificent neoclassical building in downtown Korçë remains abandoned and in ruins due to neglect brought on by Greek bureaucracy.
However, this deserted red house is not just like any other. Renowned Greek poet George Seferis lived there during 1936-1937, when he served as Consul General of Greece. The ‘absent’ Greek state may have forgotten that it was not just another Greek Consul who encouraged them to buy the structure in 1999.
Currently, Ioannis Pediotis is trying hard to find the money needed to renovate the historical building. He claims the Greek state pays a great deal of money for rent in order to house the Consulate in Korçë. But should the late Seferis’ house be renovated, it could save on the high price of rent. The simple act of renovating the historic house would prove beneficial in many respects, not only by saving on rental fees on the part of the state, but by establishing a Greek visible presence in the strategic broader district of Korçë, not to mention that such a renovation would result in a five-fold increase in the building’s value.
Needless to say, the money needed for the renovation is not an excessive amount, as many may think. 300,000 euros would be enough for the necessary upgrades, but Greece prefers to pay high rents–not only in this case but for most private buildings where public offices are housed (including even universities).
“Wherever I go, Greece hurts me,” wrote the poet/diplomat George Seferiades, his original surname, almost 70 years ago. Unfortunately, his verse seems more appropriate now more than ever.