Greek gov’t awaits archaeologists’ verdict on plot

Greek gov’t awaits archaeologists’ verdict on plot

The government is on standby Tuesday as the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) is scheduled to meet for the fourth time in just over a month to decide on whether a section of Elliniko, the site of a planned real estate investment in southern Athens, will be declared of archaeological interest, a move that could scupper the project.

Government sources are said to be anticipating a decision by KAS that would lead to a section of the plot – the site of the capital’s former airport – being declared of archaeological importance while also allowing construction to proceed in the area.

It remains unclear, however, whether such a compromise will be reached.

“We cannot be sure that everything will proceed according to our assessments,” one government source told Kathimerini yesterday. “There are 15 archaeologists on KAS and there is a strange balance [of opinions] so we will have to wait,” the source said.

Although Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his close aides have been keen to stress Greece’s openness to foreign investments, some members of his administration remain opposed to, or very skeptical of some projects. For instance, Interior Minister Panos Skourletis last week assumed a different stance to the central government line, hailing state archaeologists for “fighting to protect the country.” 

According to sources, the government is prepared to appeal to the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, if KAS decides to raise obstacles to the Elliniko project.

In a related development Monday, two ecological groups appealed to the Council of State against a decision by the Piraeus Regional Authority according to which there is no forest on the Elliniko site.

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