Funds for park ‘not wasted’

Environment and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias said yesterday that the government made a «political decision» in deciding not to use European Union funding to build a huge park in Hellenikon, southern Athens. The ruling conservatives have instead chosen to sell up to 100 hectares of the land to developers to finance the creation and upkeep of the 590-hectare metropolitan park. Souflias said the government chose to use EU funds to fund other regional projects and pledged to make public the list of all the works being undertaken. The fact that Greece could have asked for funding from the EU for the park was only revealed after a question in Brussels from a Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) MP. The mayors of the four neighborhoods that will be affected by the creation of the park have opposed the plan to sell off the land. PASOK added its voice to the protest yesterday, even though the Socialists had first drafted the plan to sell off part of the park when they were in government.