National Park to get emergency funding

Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou has called for the immediate release of funding, chiefly from European Union subsidies, for the maintenance and protection of Schinias National Park, near Marathon, northeast of Athens, where a fire broke out earlier this week.

Papaconstantinou had called for the funding to be released last month at one of his first press conferences since assuming his new portfolio but urged the acceleration of the process in the wake of the fire that broke out at the nature reserve on Wednesday.

The minister has also pushed for the appointment of a committee to oversee the management of the reserve, which is located 44 km northeast of Athens and is believed to accommodate some 145 endemic or migratory birds, some rare or endangered. A priority is the regular cleaning of the grounds of brush which often acts as kindling for forest fires.