A bill for the creation of a sell-off fund dubbed “TAIPED of the Armed Forces” was tabled in Parliament on Monday, and was significantly different in parts to what Defense Minister Panos Kammenos had previously announced.
This new agency of the National Defense Ministry, which will answer directly to the minister, will lease out properties belonging to the three armed forces, in some cases combined with properties owned by other state entities. The contractors will follow the same licensing procedure for strategic investments as that applying to private properties, but without the need for any approval from a government committee.
The entity under formation will be named the Armed Forces Property Utilization Agency (YPAAPED) and its mission will be to utilize properties owned by the funds of the Hellenic Army, Navy and Air Force that are not used for military purposes. The properties to be utilized will be selected by the agency and the tender proclamation will be approved by the Defense Council.
Properties will not be sold, but only rented out, while the revenues will be handed partly to the fund that owns the property and partly toward the funding needs of the ministry.
Interestingly, the owners of the funds will have no real say in the utilization of their properties, besides expressing an opinion. Also, YPAAPED will be able to cooperate directly with state corporations and local authorities for the joint utilization of neighboring properties.
Even properties situated on the Greek borders can be utilized by the agency, provided they are not covered by contract restrictions in those areas. This regulation may well run into constitutional objections, particularly regarding the cases of uninhabited islets which for specific reasons belong to the National Defense Ministry and not the Finance Ministry or the Public Properties Company (ETAD).
The intention to centralize the new agency is clear in the licensing process too: Investment can only be characterized as “strategic” by the minister himself, and not by the Ministerial Committee for Strategic Investments. The licensing of the properties will be done with the issue of Special Framework for Zone Development of Strategic Investments, as is the case with privately owned properties, and not with the special zoning plans for private investments in public properties; it is not known why.
In contrast to what Kammenos had announced on June 9, the new Engineers Corps (MOMKA) will not be involved in the construction of investment projects. Furthermore, the investments will not be excluded from the licensing process as if they concerned military installations.