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Finance Ministry's Coastal Development Law Under Fire

The Greek Finance Ministry has introduced a controversial coastal development law, that has incensed environmental groups, as well as a conservative deputy yesterday.

The contentious bill takes away current requirements on the size allocated for beach allowances, including sun loungers, umbrellas and bars. It also eliminates free public coastal access.

The prospective mandates are also asking for commercial permanent constructions on waterfronts, and allows for companies to pay a mere fine to qualify for unwarranted development. The latter act does not adhere to the Environment Ministry's campaign to rid coastal areas of unauthorized structures.

Environmental bodies such as the Hellenic Ornithological Society and Archelon and WWF Greece, have firmly stated that the suggested actions are sure to cause permanent harm to the nation's frail ecosystem and long lasting tourism sector losses.

As stated by WWF Greece legal coordinator George Chasiotis: "This draft law is a radical change for the worse of a long-standing, time-honored regime that protects the Mediterranean coast...Greece is opting for a piecemeal, perfunctory and environmentally destructive approach which will eventually not only degrade its natural heritage, but harm its tourist sector as well".

The law has also been met with negative judgements by the Greek government. New Democracy MP Fotini Pipili spoke to To Vima FM yesterday and claimed, "The bill is monstrous... I will certainly not vote for it in its current form".