NEWS

Cadastre shortfalls highlighted

Civil engineers, notaries and lawyers yesterday highlighted the slow pace at which the scheme to create Greece’s first land register is progressing, while underlining that there are some serious problems with the program that could mean that public property is being lost to land-grabbers. It is 15 years since Greece first launched, with the help of European Union funding, the project to record the use and ownership of land but the scheme has run into repeated delays and government indifference. According to the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE), the professional body that advises the government on engineering and technical matters, since work began, only 17 percent of properties or 6 percent of Greece’s land surface has been recorded on the cadastre. This is despite two drives by the New Democracy government to get property owners to list their land and homes on the register. The conservatives had announced at the time that they intended to register 7 million title deeds in less than four years and introduce some 310,00 hectares of land onto the registry. The PASOK government has not made its plans clear. TEE proposed yesterday that the government aim to complete the registration process by 2016. At a conference on the cadastre yesterday, hosted by TEE, notaries also expressed concern that some people are taking advantage of the creation of the land register to stake a claim to public property, which often is not acknowledged by the state. «If the framework for protecting public property during its recording on the land register is not strengthened, then other serious problems could emerge, even ones that have to do with national sovereignty,» said the president of the Athens Notaries’ Association, Costas Vlachakis, who estimates that land-grabbers are challenging the state’s ownership of some 300,000 hectares of land. It was also revealed yesterday that more than 8,000 serious mistakes have been identified in the land register.