Wednesday September 24, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
33o C
20o 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 nation’s 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)  
SYRIZA-affiliated Attica governor blocks employee evaluation
DNA link to three suspects sought for Distomo raid
PM tells Merkel Greece is ready to go it alone
More Greeks turn to private health insurance
Task Force highlights the problems SMEs face
Small and medium-sized enterprises in Greece have to pay three times as much in start-up costs compared with the European Union average, while despite an EU directive on state payment delays...
Concern over 329-mln-euro shortfall in state revenues
The Finance Ministry is concerned about the continuous shortfalls in state revenues, which according to budget data for the January-August period missed their target by 329 million euros, ac...
Inside Business
TRACK & FIELD
Inside the minds of four Spartathletes
Think you could run 246 kilometers on just figs, olives and dried meat? Well, Greek-American ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes will attempt to do just that in this weekend’s Spartathlon race fr...
SOCCER
Santos appointed Portugal manager
Fernando Santos, who led Greece to the last 16 of the World Cup in Brazil, has been appointed Portugal's new head coach, the FPF announced on Tuesday. "Fernando Santos, 59, is the new nation...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
A painful curse
It was a curse and a painful one at that. It was a brutal act that brings shame on the person who committed it, on the party which he represents, on the Parliament, on Greece and on everythi...
EDITORIAL
Europe’s choice
Tuesday’s meeting between Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin is of crucial importance. It’s hard to deny that Greece has come a long way. The ...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Task Force highlights the problems SMEs face
2. Concern over 329-mln-euro shortfall in state revenues
3. Rise in tourism arrivals dwarfs gains of regional rivals
4. OPAP set to be first past the post in race for betting permit
5. Gov’t moves unilaterally on tax easing
6. SYRIZA-affiliated Attica governor blocks employee evaluation
more news
Today
This Week
1. Venizelos meets American Jewish officials in New York
2. Trolley bus, metro services to be disrupted Tuesday, Wednesday
3. Greek yields hit one-month high as Samaras looks to exit bailout
4. German bond gains push 10-Year yield below 1% on stimulus bets
5. Construction material costs for new residential buildings decrease
6. Supreme Court postpones decision on Finance Ministry cleaning staff
Today
This Week
1. ‘Greece can meet its needs on its own’
2. Greece at bottom of social justice scale among EU28
3. Record sum of new debts to the state in August
4. Alexander the Great's tomb not at Amphipolis, says Culture Minister
5. Lessons not learned
6. Loud patriotism
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.