Environment and Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis signed a decision last week paving the way for the construction of Greece's first cremation facility, in what the City of Athens has hailed as a “very important development.”
The decision signed last week will allow Greece to fulfill its commitment for upholding “citizens' rudimentary rights,” Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis, a former ombudsman, said in comments published on Tuesday.
Cremations were legalized in Greece in 2006, yet despite numerous decisions and announcements since, the country still does not have any facilities where they can be carried out.
Last week's ministerial decision green-lights the construction of a crematorium in a city-owned plot in the Athens area Elaionas, together with a park surrounding the facility, and will bring Greece in line with European legislation following years of delays prompted mainly by objections from the church.
Facilities have also been approved in the port cities of Thessaloniki and Patra, in the north and west respectively, though progress has been slow.