Party chiefs in green debate

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is today expected to defend his government’s record on environmental protection after accepting a proposal by the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) for a parliamentary debate on the subject with the participation of all five party leaders. It is likely that SYRIZA will reiterate calls for separate ministries for environment and public works to ensure there is no conflict of interest between ecology and construction. Karamanlis is certain to reject the proposal but may say it will be re-examined in a few years, sources said. PASOK leader George Papandreou,gearing up for a leadership challenge next week, is expected to criticize the government for its «anti-environment» policy and blame it for the disastrous fires that ravaged the country in August. Meanwhile, a group of five professional organizations, including the Technical Chamber of Greece, condemned the government for displaying a lack of will to tackle environmental problems, including those caused by August’s fires.