Yesterday Ms Birbili, Environment Minister, challenged the latest government ruse to raise money: she refused to “legalise” houses built in non-urban zones and without building licences in exchange for quite large fines. Today, after meeting with Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou, Ms. Birbili agreed that the decision had been made by the Council of Ministers and should be respected although she stipulated that she will not agree to“legalization” but an “arrangement” between the owners and the government; an arrangement of course that will come at a price. An arrangement that will keep the owners of these illegally built houses hostages to all future governments as well. They might be called to pay again if the need arises…..
According to government sources there will be no arrangement for houses in forest areas, on the shores or within archaeological sites!!Mr. George Petalotis, government spokesman, claimed yesterday that the “arrangement” for houses built haphazardly, outside urban areas and without town planning, would definitely be “within the framework of the Constitution” and will fall within a broader spatial planning which is already being elaborated.
The painful reality is that this “arrangement” will bring large amounts of money to the empty state coffers but will undermine further any effort for environmental planning, for a future at peace with nature. Unfortunately Ms. Birbilis has provided this shameful “arrangement” with a cloak of respectability.
Mr. Papandreou has managed to keep his government together at the expense of any hope the greek people had for more environmental security and “green development”.