In a draft law submitted to the Hellenic Parliament end of June, Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni aims to promote massive construction in ecologically sensitive areas, primarily islets and the coatline, many of which are protected by national and EU legislation. The law also provides for the legalisation of illegal constructions, which deprives the national coffers of valuable revenues from the collection of the relevant financial penalties. At the same time, the draft law doubles the fine for free camping, a move which has attracted ironic comments and much criticism.
In a joint statement, 12 NGOs call on the MPs to reject the draft law. “How reasonable does it sound to cut the arm that feeds you? Irrational? Foolish? This is exactly what the Tourism Ministry is doing, through the draft law for the “Procedural simplification and strengthening of tourism entrepreneurship”: in all the country, it destroys nature, which is undoubtedly the main tourism product of Greece”. According to the European Commission’s “2009 Environment Policy Review”, the environment is by far the number one reason for choosing a destination in the EU.