Monday October 20, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
24o C
16o 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)  
PASOK objects to plans for changes to public sector wage structure
SYRIZA´s Lafazanis pledges immediate action on bailout, Tsipras promises
Turkish vessel enters Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone
Samaras to visit Cyprus on November 7, ahead of Egypt talks
Greece’s Alpha Bank said to seek 180 mln euros for Athens Hilton
Alpha Bank AE, Greece’s fourth- largest bank, plans to sell the Hilton Athens hotel for 180 million euros ($230 million), two people with knowledge of the matter said. The 506-room, five-sta...
Greek toy retailer Jumbo lifts Q1 sales 11 percent
Leading Greek toy retailer Jumbo reported an 11 percent increase in sales in its first quarter to Sept. 30, citing robust growth in Bulgaria and Cyprus. Jumbo, which operates 53 stores in Gr...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Reds lose to Nea Kifissia, search for new coach
Nea Kifissia recorded the biggest win of its short history in the top flight defeating Olympiakos 68-67 on Sunday, in a Basket League weekend marred by the abandonment of the Thessaloniki de...
SOCCER
OFI stuns Panathinaikos, Mitroglou hits twice
OFI Crete produced the upset of the week in Greek soccer beating Panathinaikos in Athens for only the second time in its history on Sunday, while PAOK stayed on top beating Atromitos at home...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Stop moaning and get in the game
There are so many people who love spending their days talking about the crisis and proclaiming that they know exactly what needs to be done to solve the country’s problems. Some of them obvi...
EDITORIAL
Exorcising the ghosts
Developments last week held in store an uncomfortably realistic understanding of the risks engulfing the country. The massive sell-off in Greece’s stock and bond markets was a strong shock. ...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. PASOK objects to plans for changes to public sector wage structure
2. SYRIZA´s Lafazanis pledges immediate action on bailout, Tsipras promises
3. Greece’s Alpha Bank said to seek 180 mln euros for Athens Hilton
4. Greek toy retailer Jumbo lifts Q1 sales 11 percent
5. Turkish vessel enters Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone
6. Samaras to visit Cyprus on November 7, ahead of Egypt talks
more news
Today
This Week
1. Hardouvelis does not see 'big surprises' in ECB stress tests
2. Bakers encircle Thessaloniki's White Tower with giant 'koulouri'
3. European leaders pivot back to debt crisis after wake-up call
4. Greece must stick to reforms, says Schaeuble
5. Samaras to visit Cyprus on November 7, ahead of Egypt talks
6. Turkish vessel enters Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone
Today
This Week
1. Possible third figure in Amphipolis mosaic may be uncovered shortly
2. Less haste, more focus
3. Greece to contribute 1 mln towards Gaza reconstruction
4. Greece nearing bailout exit, says gov't spokesperson after IMF talks
5. Istanbul skyscraper casts shadow over Greece's banking ambitions
6. Coalition shooting itself in the foot
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.