Coastal bill to be diluted
www.ekathimerini.com, 23 July 2014
The coalition has decided to water down a controversial bill on the use of coastal land and avoid a confrontation
with opposition parties, it emerged on Wednesday.
Environment Minister Yiannis Maniatis indicated that the new coastal bill would focus on introducing rules needed
to clearly define the shoreline. "The only goal of the necessary regulations should be the creation of a modern
tool to delineate the coastline... throughout the country in a short period of time," he said.
The government withdrew the bill earlier this year after environmental groups and thousands of citizens criticized
its content and signed petitions to prevent it passing through Parliament. The original legislation foresaw the
relaxation of restrictions on construction and commercial activity next to the sea.
Following a period of consultation within the the government, it was decided to pare the would-be legislation down
to its bare essentials. The coalition was also driven by the fact that the only part of the bill that was part
of its pledges to the troika was to create clearer legislation for the delineation of the Greek coast in order
to better protect public property. At the moment, only around 10 percent of Greeceís coastline has been clearly
defined and protected from certain activities.
The coalition also feared that it would face a protracted battle with SYRIZA and other opposition parties who criticized
the original draft law. SYRIZA recently reached out to environmental groups and others in a bid to create a united
front against the bill.
The final content of the new bill will be finalized over the next few days during talks between Maniatis, PASOK
officials and Prime Minister Antonis Samarasís office. It has not yet been decided if it will be tagged onto the
forestry bill, which is currently being examined by a parliamentary committee, or a multi-bill that is due to be
submitted to the House in the next few days.