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New Democracy, SYRIZA Lock Horns Over Environment Bill

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Environment Minister Kostis Hatzidakis. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yiorgos Stergiopoulos)

ATHENS - Greece’s major opposition Radical Left SYRIZA and activist groups ripped the New Democracy government for introducing a bill critics said would cater to business and set aside measures to protect the environment.

The government claimed the bill was designed to attract critically-needed investors and would simplify procedures for licenses but the opposition said it’s a cover for plans to benefit businesses and would harm environmental areas.

Speaking in Parliament, Environment Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said that the proposed measures are needed to help Greece pull out of the COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down non-essential businesses since March 23 but didn’t talk about any potential long term damage to the environment.

More than 80 environmental conservation groups have signed a petition asking for the bill to be withdrawn but have been ignored so far.