Greek Government Postpones Coastal Development Debate

kea-beach_2638340bThe Greek government has postponed the debate over the controversial coastal development bill, which drew sharp criticism from many citizens and several members of the government, until after the European elections on May 25.

Interior Minister Dimitris Stamatis said “the Prime Minister wants the debate to be exhaustive and meaningful, in order to cover all aspects of the issue. He also requested that the government be informed of the result and conclusions of the public consultation, after the European elections, so that it can shape its final position.

“The Greek government’s plans to allow more construction and business activity along the coastline to boost the economy has prompted widespread disgust. The bill lifts all current restrictions on the maximum area designated for beach concessions such as bars, umbrellas and sun beds, while abolishing the right to unhindered access to the coast for the public. 

The protesters, including some lawmakers, claim the bill will legitimize illegal businesses on the Greek coasts and damage Greece’s coastline. Environmental organizations and international pressure groups have launched awareness campaigns using social media. 

The Greek government, responding to the criticism, has assured that environmental protection of the Greek coastline will remain among the Environment Ministry’s top priorities.