Pushed hard by international lenders to speed the pace of privatizations and selling off state lands, the Greek government has instead submitted to Parliament an amendment that would allow investors to lease islands instead of purchasing them.
The proposal also would require a number of ministries and the heads of the armed forces to approve the transactions, which could complicate the process and add to the country’s labyrinthine bureaucratic procedures that have already warded off potential investors.
The legislation tabled by Defense Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos requires the heads of the Defense and Public Order ministries to give their okay on the the lease of any Greek islands as well as permission from military chiefs who could block any deals. Critics of privatization have said Greece could lose valuable assets forever in return for a one-time infusion of cash that would do little to reduce the country’s staggering $460 billion debt.
There was no response yet from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) which is putting up $325 billion in two bailouts to prop up the country’s faltering economy on whether the restrictions would meet their approval as they wanted Greece to get cash fast through sales of assets.