Samaras Wants Construction in Parks, Residential Areas

Under the Samaras plan, this could be suitable for building
Under the Samaras plan, this could be suitable for building

Hoping to secure release of another installment from international lenders, this one for a billion euros, Greece’s coalition government is trying to push through a series of previously-agreed reforms it has failed to implement, including allowing construction in public green spaces.

A new zoning plan, scheduled for a Parliament vote on June 26, changes zoning laws to spur investment and business activity by allowing building commercial activities in residential neighborhoods, central thoroughfares and in parks.

It’s similar other legislation, set aside for now, which would allow rampant development on public beaches, further removing public access to the water as the government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras reaches out to investors and builders.

The government also abandoned a plan to create Europe’s largest public park in the old international airport on the city’s southern coast and is going ahead with a project to turn most of it into developed buildings.

At 2 square meters per resident, Athens has 13 times less green space than Amsterdam, eight times less than Paris, and an astounding 25 times less than Washington, D.C.

Other prior actions on which the government has made progress include plans to abolish a series of third-party charges. Without a list of the levies, an electronic platform has been launched to log them all, with citizens being asked to contribute to it anonymously.

Among the pending items on the list of the first six prior actions Greece must enforce is a new code of conduct for MPs and ministers.

A plan to provide free healthcare and medicines to citizens without health insurance is to be finalized by the end of this week, Health Minister Makis Voridis said. He must also finalize measures reducing the profit margins of pharmacists.

Earlier this week, the two coalition parties, Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives, and his partner, the PASOK Socialists, reached a compromise agreement on the part-privatization of the Public Power Corporation which had been opposed by some PASOK MPs.