New snags to Elliniko project amid objections over artifacts


The already delayed development of the site of the capitals’ former international airport at Elliniko faces new setbacks following a fresh legal appeal against the project and a joint objection raised by 18 MPs of leftist SYRIZA related to the possible presence of ancient artifacts in the area.

In their appeal to the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, a group of residents and activists including former SYRIZA MP Nadia Valavani have indicated that “very significant buildings in the area of the former Elliniko airport” be listed for protection as historic monuments.

Meanwhile 18 deputies of SYRIZA have submitted a question to the Culture, Environment and Finance ministries, calling for parts of Elliniko to be declared archaeological areas and citing the protection of the public interest.

“Designating archaeological areas within the premises does not negate the possibility of construction by the investor but puts [the issue] under the control of the archaeological service,” the MPs wrote in the joint statement that was submitted in Parliament on Wednesday.

The fact that most of the 18 MPs who signed the six-page statement belong to the so-called Group of 53 faction of SYRIZA, which is led by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, fuelled political debate.

Commenting, prominent PASOK MP Odysseas Constantinopoulos claimed that the 18 lawmakers “are aiming to create obstacles to the investment for the development of the former airport at Elliniko,” noting that this would lead to the loss of 75,000 jobs.

In a related development, it emerged that Lamda Development, which leads the consortium that agreed to develop Elliniko, is to sign a memorandum of cooperation with the Culture Ministry that would allow Greek archaeological authorities to monitor all work on the site.

The leftist-led government last summer revised the terms for the long-term lease of the site at Elliniko in line with creditors’ demands despite opposition from within SYRIZA to the 915-million-euro privatization project.