|Annual review of environmental law in Greece: an avalanche of environmental losses|
|Thursday, 05 July 2012 10:41|
The period June 2011 – June 2012, which is covered in WWF Greece’s 8th annual review on the status of environmental legislation and policy in Greece, was marked by an avalanche of serious environmental losses.
To a large extent, the environmental rollback analysed in the review is the result of Greece’s commitments in the context of the austerity and structural adjustment programme supervised by the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. To an equally large extent though, this loss of important environmental acquis is due to initiatives of the political leaders of various ministries. It is indicative that policies introduced by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change upon its establishment in 2009, were cancelled, betraying hopes for good environmental policy-making.
According to the data presented in the review, the economic crisis is used as an excuse for the weakening of environmental legislation and policy. The policies and legal changes stipulated in the structural adjustment and austerity programme as national commitments being the tips of the spear, many ministries have launched efforts to penetrate and alter the environmental legislation affecting their policy domains.
The environmental policy domains that were mostly affected are the following:
Through a series of dynamic interventions in the legislative process, WWF Greece managed to halt and reverse some of these Government initiatives.
It is WWF Greece’s firm belief that undermining environmental policies and legislation does not contribute to economic development, but rather undermines the potential for a sustainable way out of the crisis. It also creates doubts about the stability of the Greek legislative and policy system and concerns over its compatibility with EU and international environmental law.
“Respect for conservation legislation protects the basic systems, which constitute Greece’s natural wealth and must be sustainably managed, in order to contribute to solving the crisis and preventing future economic crises. The legislation and policies currently implemented exacerbate the ecological deficit, worsening longer-term environmental remediation costs.”, states Theodota Nantsou, WWF Greece’s Policy Coordinator.