Saturday August 23, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
32o C
25o 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)  
New Democracy should look to center ground, says Mitsotakis
Education Ministry says almost 180,000 tertiary students ´stagnant´
Hardouvelis ready to make changes to property tax after MP talks
Ancient Amphipolis tomb unlikely to have been looted, says lead archaeologist
External factors threatening Greek recovery
At a time when the Greek economy is displaying what appear to be early signs of recovery, following six years of deep recession, a series of external factors are threatening to undermine the...
Vodafone to buy 73 pct more of Hellas Online for 73 mln euros
Britain’s Vodafone has agreed to acquire a further 73 percent stake in Greece’s broadband and fixed-line telephony provider Hellas Online for 73 million euros, to help it better compete in t...
Inside Business
West Brom sign Greek international striker Samaras
West Bromwich Albion have signed Greece striker Georgios Samaras on a two-year contract following his release from Scottish champions Celtic, the English Premier League club said on Friday. ...
SOCCER
Panathinaikos, Asteras Tripolis notch up vital wins in Europa League
Thursday proved a very productive night for two of the three Greek teams performing in the Europa League as Panathinaikos and Asteras Tripolis secured vital wins in the first legs of their p...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
On steroids
Bodybuilders are in a league of their own. They rarely make headlines for their achievements, their performance, or being role models. In contrast, they’re more likely to make the news due t...
EDITORIAL
Time to kick a stupid habit
Official figures indicate that tax dodging continues unabated across Greece’s tourist areas. According to data made available by the Finance Ministry following checks conducted between July ...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. New Democracy should look to center ground, says Mitsotakis
2. Education Ministry says almost 180,000 tertiary students ´stagnant´
3. Hardouvelis ready to make changes to property tax after MP talks
4. Ancient Amphipolis tomb unlikely to have been looted, says lead archaeologist
5. Anti-terrorism squad called in after 300,000-euro bank robbery
6. External factors threatening Greek recovery
more news
Today
This Week
1. Aftershocks rattle Halkidiki after strong 5-Richter quake
2. Coast guard intercepts 180 migrants in Aegean in two days
3. Greek peach farmers await Brussels decision on compensation
4. Avramopoulos, Hagel hammer out 'roadmap' of defense cooperation
5. Hardouvelis hears grievances of coalition MPS to unified property tax bill
6. Spanish government bonds rise with Italy's before Draghi speech
Today
This Week
1. Carved sphinxes at Ancient Amphipolis tomb will not be removed
2. The magical mountain
3. Merkel cites euro’s ‘construction flaws’ as economy sputters
4. Greek stock recovery fading away as ASE falls 21 pct on valuations
5. Brussels warns Greece over plans to allow construction near Korinos beach
6. Second man held over double murder in Mani
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.