Posted on 02 March 2021
Signed by the Minister for Development (Adonis Georgiadis) and also by the Minister for the Environment and Energy (Costas Skrekas), the bill includes a provision that gradually undermines the protection of Natura 2000 sites and leads to their fragmentation, as smaller areas are designated for the development of investment projects.
- We reacted promptly by sending an urgent letter to MPs on February 25 explaining the reasons why this provision is contrary to EU and national legislation and requesting its withdrawal.
- We launched a petition campaign on February 26, supported by the environmental NGOs ANIMA, ARCHELON, Arctouros, Callisto, Ecological Recycling Company, Hellenic Society for Nature Protection and Greenpeace, requesting the Greek MPs to immediately withdraw Article 219 because:
- It leads to the fragmentation of protected areas by isolating parts of them based on vague investment criteria and not their environmental needs and requirements.
- It ignores the recent conviction of Greece by the Court of Justice of the European Union for failure to comply with the Habitats Directive.
- It attempts to circumvent the EU Pilot process recently initiated by the European Commission for inadequate implementation of significant legal obligations to prevent degradation of Natura 2000 sites.
- It undermines the country's prospects for sustainable development.
- We participated on March 1 in the hearing process held by the Parliamentary Committee on Production and Trade, in which we argued that the specific provision of the bill does not comply with EU legislation regarding the protection of biodiversity and in particular the Habitats Directive. We also stressed the obligations held by EU countries to protect their biodiversity hot-spots designated as Natura 2000 sites.
Finally, together with the environmental NGOs ANIMA, Arctouros, ARCHELON, Hellenic Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage, Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, Hellenic Ornithological Society, Society for the Protection of Prespa, Callisto, Ecological Society for Recycling, Greenpeace Greece and MOm, we sent a joint letter to Greek MPs requesting the withdrawal of this provision.