SYRIZA still split over Elliniko investment


Despite the “full support” expressed by ruling SYRIZA’s political council for the planned real estate investment at the site of the capital’s old airport in Elliniko, party cadres appear reluctant to endorse the government’s bid to bypass the Central Archaeological Council (KAS), which is set to decide next Tuesday on whether a part of the plot will be declared to be of archaeological interest.

On Wednesday, KAS, the country’s top advisory body on the protection of antiquities, again failed to reach a decision as to whether to approve the project, and its 17-member committee has now adjourned for a third time this month. It will reconvene on Tuesday.

Several senior party officials have warned against ignoring KAS, as was advised by some during the political council meeting, because the government could be accused of undermining the views of archaeologists on the matter.

This, officials said, may lead to accusations that the government is resorting to populist tactics in its bid to get the investment back on track. However, Greece’s deputy Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas expressed confidence on Friday that the project will go ahead whatever KAS decides on Tuesday.

Speaking to Skai TV on Friday, he said that even if part of the plot at Elliniko is declared of archaeological interest, the rest of the investment will proceed as planned. “Entire cities are of archaeological interest in Greece and yet houses are built [there] every day,” Pitsiorlas said.