Settling very old land claims

Settling very old land claims

It has taken a hundred years, but the Greek state is finally ready to issue title deeds to some of the refugees who came to Greece from Asia Minor in 1922. A bill that will be submitted to Parliament in the course of this month will contain the relevant provision, as well as offering state-owned trespassed land at a reasonable price, under strict terms and conditions.

According to a senior Finance Ministry source, the bill seeks to resolve problems stemming from the past, by delivering title deeds to the actual owners of properties in 28 prefectures in Greece, including areas such as Kalamaria and Oraiokastro in Thessaloniki in the north.

This concerns properties that were used as housing for thousands of Asia Minor refugees. It is a problem that successive Greek governments have tried to settle by drafting various bills, which, although published, did not make it to Parliament. Those properties are now considered state-owned and the aim is to give the people holding them the title deeds they deserve.

The same official explained that the bill has already passed a detailed inspection so as to avoid any problems in terms of its compliance with the Constitution. The Justice Ministry and the Council of State appear to have approved its submission in the House.

As for trespassed properties, they are estimated to exceed 70,000, while ministry estimates speak of state revenues that can reach up to 1 billion euros: Each person who fulfills the law’s obligations will be able to pay an average of €14,500 to obtain ownership of the land he or she has encroached upon.

Kathimerini understands that one of the conditions to be attached to the settlement is that people can only lay claim to a property they have lived in or used for at least 50 years.

According to the ministry, the settlement of the above pending matters aims at correcting social injustices that have been historically illustrated, as well as various conflicts and claims as the state strives to safeguard its interests.

The settlement will boost public coffers, to the efficient protection of common use property and the lifting of a burden on the state.

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