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Society

Despite Mati Fire, SYRIZA Moves to Legalize Seaside Structures

April 5, 2019

Having reneged – again – this time on a promise to raze unlawful structures and homes after a deadly fire killed 100 people, many in the waterfront village of Mati, the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA wants to legalize more illegal seaside buildings.

The Finance Ministry has submitted a bill to Parliament that, while designed to raze unlawful structures by tourism businesses and energy companies, backs away from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ to tear them all down as he promised after the July 23, 2018 fires.

Critics said the bill is far more lenient than a 2014 version that was withdrawn after outrage that it would let people and companies who took over prime space on the seaside unlawfully stay there. That’s a common practice if people pay fines.

The new bill allows legalization of structures built before July 28, 2011, which belong to  businesses already benefiting from growth and development laws and are contracted to the public sector, the National Tourism Organization (EOT) or a local authority.

Not only would unlawful buildings be allowed to stay, they can get state subsidies leading to their legalization, said Kathimerini. That would then only require a ministerial decision.

The bill requires consultation with the Environment Ministry first, a bizarre twist asking for a recommendation on an already unlawful building.

The bill also allows for legalizing some structures built after July 2011 if they benefit the Defense Ministry and national security and also refers to structures that are part of the international, national and along rural road networks.

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