Redefining our forests

The exact contents of a controversial new forestland bill remain unclear despite a «general preamble» by Agriculture Minister Giorgos Drys broadcast live on television on Thursday. We must assume that Drys is familiar with the contents of the new bill. I say assume, because this was unclear from his speech, which only focused in detail on what is not included in the new legislation. So, six or seven «nots» were used to present the philosophy of the new law, without revealing the contents of the bill itself, which is probably ready, but which the government has wisely decided not to make public until it has sounded out reactions to it (which have so far been negative, for the most part). It will then likely present an «adapted» final draft, in the hope of securing some sort of consent and defusing the general suspicion among the public that our forestland has also fallen victim to the needs of the government’s pre-election campaign. Indeed, Drys did not seem like a minister proud to be presenting new legislation that will finally solve one of the country’s chronic problems, but was rather a politician apologizing a priori for the criticism he is receiving and will receive. Drys pledged his respect for the constitutional provisions protecting forestland from «declassification» (he avoided using the inflammatory term). But this is going to happen anyway – the only difference is that aerial photographs from 1960 – instead of 1945 – will be used to define the land.