Greek opposition slams government in wake of KAS recommendation

Greek opposition slams government in wake of KAS recommendation

One day after Greece’s Central Archaeological Council (KAS) recommended that part of the disused Elliniko plot, which is slated for a massive redevelopment project worth 8 billion euros, be declared an archaeological site, opposition New Democracy on Wednesday accused the left-led government of putting off investors and undermining the debt-hit country’s economic recovery.

“Mr Tsipras has to understand that growth is not something that can be dictated. He has to realize that with his logic it is neither possible to [attract] investments, nor to effectively protect [Greece’s] cultural heritage,” conservative party spokesman Vassilis Kikilias said, adding that the investment will create thousands of jobs and boost growth in the area south of Athens.

After a marathon session Tuesday, KAS recommended that about 30 hectares of the 620-hectare plot under the project be declared of archaeological interest. Its recommendation is not binding for the government.

Greek developer Lamda signed a 99-year lease with the state in 2014 for the plot. Backed by Chinese and Gulf funds, Lamda submitted its detailed development plan for Elliniko in July, setting off a licensing process which will wrap up with a decree.

But the project has suffered numerous setbacks, also owing to concerns about its environmental impact. On Monday, Greece won an appeal over objections by forestry officials.

Speaking to Reuters on Wednesday, deputy Economy Minister in charge of investments, Stergios Pitsiorlas, remained upbeat over developments.

“The [KAS] decision is fine,” he told Reuters. “The fact that a small area is declared of archaeological interest shields the whole process from future litigation,” he told the agency, adding that the recommendation meant that archaeologists would have a closer supervision of construction work.


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