NEWS

New zoning bill full of vague generalizations

As it is an incredibly general text, the new zoning bill had no difficulty getting by the Cabinet. Obviously, no one took it seriously. (Did anyone even bother to read it?) Any plan that truly attempted to put Greece’s territory into some kind of order would have raised a storm of protests. There is not a single reference to money in the bill, to expenditure as a percentage of the GNP. Everything is approximate, so as not to offend anyone. It says there should be fewer regions. But how many and what should they be? Can anyone, whether ordinary citizen or investor, depend on proclamations such as this? There should be fewer prefectures, but the current ones should be retained. So what is the bill for? I think there are three main goals. The first is to create a new line of defense against the Council of State which cancels decrees for projects that are not part of a more general zoning design. From now on, if no New Democracy deputies stop the bill in Parliament, the administration will include anything it likes in the so-called plan. The attempt to legalize the decrees on the Acheloos River diversion is a case in point: It requires «comprehensive management of the country’s water resources in such a way as to ensure their rational use in every sector, particularly the agricultural, and to balance the use and needs of various territorial and administrative units, that is by transporting water from one catchment area to another in the same or a different water management area and to maintain quality at satisfactory levels as in the case of the Acheloos, in order restore ecosystems.» The second goal is to win votes. Hundreds of thousands of illegally built structures will be legalized, at the expense of legality itself, the environment, forests and the landscape. The third goal is to serve the interests of state engineers, who will be allowed to interfere in other ministries. From the former environment minister’s commentary in Kathimerini, March 9.