The debate on the bill to simplify environmental licensing lasted more than 16 hours in the Plenary Session of the Parliament. The bill was approved with the votes of the government majority, in the early hours of the morning, and after the withdrawal, by the Minister of Environment and Energy, Kostas Skrekas, of the chapter related to the permitted use of land in the protected areas. It was also preceded by a series of “legal technical improvements”, including the imposition of a ceiling on the monthly fixed amount of electricity bills.
“It is no coincidence that Greece currently enjoys higher economic growth rates than the European average,” said Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas, closing the marathon debate in the Plenary on the bill to simplify environmental licensing . “These did not happen by chance. They happened because there is a coordinated plan, there is a program that is implemented and has brought results, it has brought investments. Now Greece is a very attractive destination for investment funds and this means jobs, an increase in income and ultimately an increase in quality of life”, said Kostas Skrekas who underlined that this is the only path to prosperity and progress, “because progress cannot be made with words. Progress comes with actions and initiatives that the government promotes”.
The Minister of Environment and Energy, referring to the “offshore wind farms”, said that it is an important initiative to exploit the abundant wind potential available to the country, “in a marine area that does not disturb, that does not cause damage to the environment, that does not disturb the residents”, promoting the sustainability of the economy and society.
Kostas Skrekas also referred to the controversial Chapter of the bill on uses in protected areas, which he announced he was withdrawing, while the discussion of the bill was progressing in the plenary session. “This Chapter was withdrawn to give you the opportunity to see it again better and to discuss it again. It does not mean that the provision we had received was in the wrong direction. We want to analyze our plan even more, with a dialogue both with us and with the environmental organizations, so that we can finally convince that these initiatives are in the interest of the environment,” said Mr. Skrekas and added: “if you see the special environmental studies that come to the ministry in order to then go out to the public consultation, you will find that the scholars, in order to be able to prepare these studies, have proceeded, on their own, in deviations from the law. In essence, they have violated the law and have prepared studies that cannot be filed, cannot be introduced to the SC and surely the Presidential Decrees will never be able to be issued.This is what we are trying to help solve so that there will actually be studies which will help protect the environment. Don’t forget that SYRIZA, which did nothing to protect these areas, comes today and accuses us of alleged convictions by the European Court, while these took place due to the inadequacy, during the five years that he governed this place”.
Previously, and in the order they received the floor, the special buyer of MeRA25 Kriton Arsenis referred to the “arrests” of demonstrators, “after the hooliganism of the MAT, against the march, for forests and water”. As the MP said, “it was a march that was broken up brutally, for no reason”, after previously, “the march for Michaelides was broken up”, and, as he found out, “in GADA the laws for protestors’ communication with lawyers do not apply their”. “That is, in GADA, the laws do not apply, the Parliament does not respect the Constitution and the decisions of the CoE. I am very afraid for my country. We have a gradual and steady democratic slide and we have reached the extreme slide, of the abolition of the binding nature of the decisions of CoE. What we are voting for water is ignoring the binding nature of the decisions of the CoE, ignoring the Constitution and violating it,” said Kriton Arsenis and added “while Valia Kalda and the forest of Dadia are burning, it was attack with WINDS, on the people protesting about the fires and the environment. Use water to put out any fires, ladies and gentlemen of the government. While the most impressive national forests are burning, you bring a bill that does not have a single tightening of environmental legislation On the contrary, it breaks up NATURA areas, allows mining, allows RES everywhere, violates European Directives, limits protection in every way of the environment”.
“In the environmental issue there is a critical dimension. It is the class dimension and this dimension is highlighted by the KKE, with its interventions and actions”, said the special buyer of the KKE Ioanis Delis and underlined that “the environmental issue is neither classless nor superclass . It’s an eminently class issue.” Mr. Delis complained that it is the business groups that will benefit from the provisions of the bill for the simplification of environmental licensing and environmental controls, “the bill speaks and refers to them”. The member of the KKE commented that with the withdrawal of the capital for the uses in the protected areas, “a maneuver was made by the government, with its withdrawal, the temporary withdrawal”. He also wondered who offshore wind farms are aimed at, to note that “all these facilities highlight the class dimension of the environmental issue”, at a time when “OFYPEKA (Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency) is turning into a key tool for the commercialization of environmental policy” .
The special buyer of PASOK Giorgos Arvanitidis observed that “the fact that the minister took back an entire chapter from the bill, justifies the criticism made by his party”. “The government felt both the pressure of the environmental organizations and the scientific service of the Parliament”, said Mr. Arvanitidis who added that “he personally honors the minister, the fact that he took a step back today”, and “this will be completed, if change the approach to the subject and take advantage of the time that follows, for substantial changes”. The PASOK MP described the successive amendments made to the bill as deliberate, at the same time he was debating it in the plenary session. “So having suspended and not abolished, of course, the readjustment clause, which was incorporated, in fact, into the accounts. You are now coming to adjust the balance of the accounts. But things would be much simpler if the government had adopted, principle, our proposal for a ceiling on the retail price of electricity”, said Mr. Arvanitidis.
SYRIZA rapporteur Hara Kafantari accused the government of “treating the issue of the environment as a real obstacle to development”. Despite his efforts, the minister has not been able to convince the citizens of the correctness of the energy policy, and the formation of prices, the readjustment clause, at a time when power cut orders are in six figures, in July, he said Mrs. Kafantari. He also complained that “the bad legislation continues” with the bill being voted by the Parliament today as a typical example, as 87 articles had been consulted and now 178 articles are being voted on. He also said that the narrative of protecting protected areas, “collapsed” with the withdrawal of the relevant chapter of the bill. “The scientific bodies, the scientific service of the Parliament, the opposition which documented issues, but also the Civil Society, the environmental organizations contributed to this”, assessed the SYRIZA rapporteur who emphasized that all this is happening while, since the beginning of the year , 171,000 acres have burned, between Valia Kalda and the forest of Dadia.
ND rapporteur Dionysis Stamenitis said that today the discussion of a very important bill was completed, and instead of the opposition participating in the dialogue productively, it preferred, once again, to throw accusations and level everything. “The ND government is a green government. It is this government that really cares about the environment and about dealing with the consequences of the climate crisis. The way was first shown by our Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, putting all the policies related with energy, the climate and the natural environment, quite high on the list of his priorities”, said Mr. Stamenitis, who characterized the government’s decision for greater participation of RES in the country’s energy mix as emblematic, because they will allow the fastest energy autonomy and will provide more energy security and lead to lower cost prices. The ND rapporteur pointed out that in the last three years, this government simplified licensing procedures for RES, brought a comprehensive plan for the de-lignification of the country, spatial and urban planning, regulations on single-use plastics, the first climate law, since its establishment state, modernized the environmental legislation, modernized the legislation on NATURA areas, developed a program for energy saving, a recycling program, a program for electrification.
I am Derek Black, an author of World Stock Market. I have a degree in creative writing and journalism from the University of Central Florida. I have a passion for writing and informing the public. I strive to be accurate and fair in my reporting, and to provide a voice for those who may not otherwise be heard.