Sunday November 23, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
18o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Environmental group urges MPs to block 'criminal' coastal development bill

The bill facilitates permanent constructions on beaches for commercial purposes, while making it possible for businesses to pay fines to legalize unlicensed constructions.

By Harry van Versendaal

Reactions against a controversial bill that lifts restrictions on construction along Greece's coastline continued Monday, as environmental protection group WWF Greece urged lawmakers to shoot down the ecologically criminal proposal.

It is a brutal and outrageously shortsighted, revenue-oriented wipeout of environmental law, the NGO said in an open letter to Greek MPs urging them to stop the draft law before it is submitted to Parliament.

The bill, which was submitted by the Finance Ministry, lifts all current restrictions on the maximum area designated for beach concessions such as bars, umbrellas and sun loungers while abolishing the right to unhindered public access to the seashore.

The proposed measures also facilitate permanent constructions on beaches for commercial purposes, while making it possible for businesses to pay fines to legalize unlicensed constructions.

Public consultation on the bill, launched during the Easter break, has been extended to May 13. Local elections are scheduled to be held in Greece on May 18 and 25.

We are calling upon MPs to launch a cross-party initiative so that the unconscionable crime against our natural wealth that is the Finance Ministry bill is never submitted to Parliament, said Theodota Nantsou, environmental policy coordinator at WWF.

We can see no justification for the sudden culling of legislation for the protection of the environment and natural resources in the name of 'development' that is chaotic, nonviable in the long term and financially questionable, Nantsou said.

The conservative-led government reportedly claims that the legislation is necessary because it will help Greece sell millions of euros' worth of public property as part of its privatization process. Critics, however, have suggested that the legislation that is already in place is adequate for this purpose.

In the same letter sent to MPs Monday, WWF attacked the idea that the changes to the legislation are crucial for the development of tourism, Greece's largest industry.

At a time of global crisis, the country's millions of visitors are not here to see crammed beaches, cement-covered stretches of coastline or ugly constructions on closed-off beaches, it said.

According to a 2010 Flash Eurobarometer survey, cited by WWF, most European Union citizens named a location's environment as their key consideration when deciding on a holiday destination.

Bankrupt growth model

Speaking to Kathimerini English Edition, Nantsou warned of an environmental rollback in Greece as green policy, perennially on the back burner, has suffered a hefty blow as a result of the nations financial meltdown.

WWF Greece has been closely monitoring the environmental dimensions of the economic downturn and we have been witnessing a serious rollback in important laws and policies, Nantsou told the newspaper.

Planning for more constructions and resource overuse is what crisis-hit countries should not be doing. The old and bankrupt growth model of high hidden costs and of an ecological debt that is transferred to the future generations should be a non-starter, she said.

The coastal development bill has been attacked by the small Ecologist Greens and the pro-business Drasi parties, but has yet to draw official criticism from any of their mainstream counterparts.

On Friday, a New Democracy lawmaker promised to vote against the bill should it come to the House.

The bill is monstrous... I will certainly not vote for it in its current form, Fotini Pipili said.

ekathimerini.com , Monday May 5, 2014 (19:33)  
Cyprus on agenda in Biden visit to Istanbul
PASOK nixes Papandreou leadership challenge
Troika tests govt nerves as budget rift persists
Climate change to hit farming, Greek coastline
Fitch keeps Greek rating at B, outlook stable
Fitch Ratings retained Greeces sovereign credit rating at B and its outlook as stable late on Friday but warned of a downgrade should snap elections prove inconclusive or negotiations wit...
More cash for banks with same papers
Greek banks will be able to draw additional liquidity from the European Central Bank after Frankfurt issued a guideline on Friday that revises the haircut applying to securities issued or ...
Inside Business
INTERVIEW
Tokyo hopes to change the world
The 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo will serve as a springboard for the rebuilding of Japans image and economy following the triple blow of the earthquake, tsunami and nuc...
BASKETBALL
Big win for Greens, tight one for Reds
Panathinaikos scored a crucial as well as emphatic away win at Turow on Thursday that should see it qualify from its tough group to the top 16 of the Euroleague, while Olympiakos saw off vis...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Extremism from a bygone era
There are times when we seem to be overcome by self-destructive madness. I hear various commentators and politicians speaking in extreme terms of a junta, of defections, gallows, collaborato...
EDITORIAL
No call for more games
Psychological warfare has been a part of the negotiations between the troika and Athens from the very start of the crisis. But the situation is much different now and troika decision-makers ...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Cyprus on agenda in Biden visit to Istanbul
2. PASOK nixes Papandreou leadership challenge
3. Troika tests govt nerves as budget rift persists
4. Climate change to hit farming, Greek coastline
5. Piraeus nightclub shooting leaves 3 seriously injured
6. London court to rule on extradition of former judge
more news
Today
This Week
1. Extremism from a bygone era
2. No call for more games
3. PASOK nixes Papandreou leadership challenge
4. Piraeus nightclub shooting leaves 3 seriously injured
5. Climate change to hit farming, Greek coastline
6. Fitch keeps Greek rating at B, outlook stable
Today
This Week
1. Double quake on Atalanti fault line rattles Greek capital [Update]
2. Greece and Poland switch roles as young Greeks head to vibrant Eastern European country for better prospects
3. Anti-junta uprising anniversary to be marked amid tight security
4. Biden heads to Istanbul amid tension over Cyprus EEZ violation
5. Carlsberg takes control of Greek brewer Olympic Brewery [Update]
6. Every age has its collaborators
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.