NEWS

Land register by 2010

Some eight years after Greece was promised its first land register, the government unveiled detailed plans to get the project, bedeviled by delays and arguments, back on track but with property owners covering the majority of its cost. Greece and Albania are the only two European countries not to have a land register and, in the case of Greece, that is despite having received some 100 million euros in funding from the European Union to create one. In a scheme PASOK referred to as «Greece’s biggest major public works project,» Costas Laliotis, then public works minister, promised in 1997 that 5 million hectares of land would be on the register by 2000, but the project barely got off the ground and in 2001 the EU asked for its money back. The creation of a land register has great political significance as well as practical importance for the ruling conservatives. «It is a fundamental project for our country since it is the key tool for planning, correct organization and development of the country,» said Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias. According to the plans, property owners will be required to pay a flat fee of 35 euros and then 0.14 percent of 20,000 euros less than the objective value of their home or land so the property can be registered. If the title deeds are owned by more than one person, they will all have to pay the registration fee. This money will go to covering almost 1.1 billion euros of the whole project’s expected total cost of 1.39 billion euros. Souflias said the EU has refused to make any funds available this time. The minister said every effort would be made to keep Greeks living abroad informed about the process so they could register any property they own in Greece. He said that a special system would be devised for Greek Australians so that ownership of their property would be recognized but not included on the land register so they do not miss out on their pensions in Australia. Souflias pledged that the bulk of the registration (Attica, Thessaloniki and the capitals of Greece’s prefectures) would be carried out by 2010.