Mayors convince gov’t to lift hurdles to cremation

The mayors of Athens and Thessaloniki, Giorgos Kaminis and Yiannis Boutaris respectively, on Thursday welcomed a pledge by Environment Minister Yiannis Maniatis to lift obstacles to the creation of crematoria in Greece.

Maniatis said he would tag the amendment on to a bill overhauling zoning laws which is due to go to Parliament. Earlier on Thursday the mayors had issued a statement calling on authorities to defy “invisible forces” that they said were stopping Greece from “adapting to international standards and... respecting every citizen’s right of choice.”

The amendment would allow Greece to “make up for years of procrastinating and to gain credibility in major issues relating to rights,” a subsequent statement said.

A law allowing cremation in Greece was passed in 2006 – compared to 1884 in the UK and 1887 in France – but has not been enacted due to opposition from the Church of Greece, among others.