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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-11-01

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Karamanlis: Development, environmental polices are 'inter-connecting vessels'

  • [01] Karamanlis: Development, environmental polices are 'inter-connecting vessels'

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday rejected the oft-cited "development versus environment" dilemma as "untimely and invalid", speaking during an off-the-agenda debate in Parliament, at party leaders' level.

    The debate was initiated by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alekos Alavanos on the issue of "Greece's ecology policies", which was also attended by EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.

    Karamanlis told the 300-member legislature that developmental and environmental policies resembled "communicating vessels", and that prosperity emanating from irresponsibility and desecration of the natural wealth as well as the waste of natural resources was destructive in the long-run.

    "Whatever harms the environment in the end also harms society and the economy. Whatever benefits the environment also benefits growth and the quality of our live," the prime minister said.

    Karamanlis said the essence of environmental responsibility pervaded all developmental policies of his government, which, he added, had inherited environmental problems that had accumulated over decades.

    "Providence for the environment was part of the broader rationale of responsibility on the part of all of us, and this message comprises the criterion of the present government's new developmental policy, which pervaded all the individual policies across the board," the Greek prime minister said.

    "This is the new, non-negotiable element with which we will engraft every business activity, every personal attitude. This is the safest, most optimistic road before us," he said.

    Karamanlis also referred to joint efforts by European countries for protection of the global climate, as well as to a Greek proposal for the establishment of a European Rapid Reaction Force to deal with environmental disasters, which he said had been well-received.

    Referring to areas in Greece facing environmental problems, such as Lake Koronia and the Assopos River, Karamanlis said strict implementation of the law and the required interventions "are a commitment that are being made action".

    Karamanlis further said that supporting the citizens and reconstruction of the areas that were devastated by August's wildfires was a fundamental priority for his government.

    "I made clear, from the very first moment, our decision to designate the forests that were destroyed for reforestation. The Peripheries that have not yet completed the procedure have received instructions to accelerate the relevant decisions. Where there was forest, there will once again be forest," Karamanlis said.

    Taking the podium for a second time, he stated that the people have renewed their mandate to the government to continue with determination and dialogue the uphill road of responsibility, effectiveness and reforms.

    Commenting on the criticism voiced by the opposition, he stated that it is impossible to solve, in one day, lingering problems that have been piling up for years. "Challenges are being faced effectively only if there is a will to implement clear cut solutions," he said.

    He rejected as groundless, allegations that the new tourism-related town planning will lead to rampant construction, stressing that the environment is regarded as main precondition for viable development.

    Regarding the supremely important metropolitan park project at the site of the old Athens airport at Helleniko, he reiterated that self-funding and real estate development 10 percent of the 600 hectares available for such purposes guarantees the project's construction and maintenance, while ensuring a financial surplus for the "Green Fund" and the reconstruction of other congested regions in the wider Athens region.

    Karamanlis also made a special reference to an amendment of Article 24, stressing that it is aimed at ensuring forest and forestland protection through tougher sanctions.

    Caption: A view of the Greek Parliament session on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2007. ANA-MPA / MARIA MAROGIANNI

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