for solar park blocked by red tape
The government has hit back at claims by the Church of Greece that its plans
to build a solar park have been caught up in red tape by saying that the
intended site is actually public land, which is due to be reforested.
“State authorities challenge the ownership rights that the Pendeli Monastery
claims to have,” the Environment Ministry said in a statement, which added that
church officials have been informed that the land in question is listed as
“A prerequisite for the investment to go ahead is for the ownership issue to
be settled,” said the ministry.
The statement goes on to say that even if the ownership issue is resolved in
favor of the monastery, which is located in northern Athens, then the question
of whether the site in question is located is forestland also needs to be
The ministry said that the state had listed the area to be reforested
following several wildfires between 1998 and 2009. Once land is set aside for
reforestation, the law prevents any construction from taking place. However,
this rule has been broken repeatedly in the past.
The Environment Ministry went on to point out that the monastery has not
applied for a license to build on the land, suggesting that the Church may have
been looking for favorable treatment from the government.
A spokesman for the Church told Kathimerini on Monday that Archbishop
Ieronymos had been encouraged to proceed with the plans for a solar park by
previous Prime Minister George Papandreou and current Premier Lucas
Meanwhile, Ombudsman Calliope Spanou on Monday gave a deposition to financial
prosecutor Grigoris Peponis in connection to the rents paid by her organization.
Peponis has launched an investigation into the rents paid by state bodies.
The Ombudsman’s rent for offices owned by the Vatopedi Monastery, which is
located on Mount Athos, is about 100,000 euros a month. Spanou said she has been
asking since last year for the rent to be reduced but the government’s Land
Service, which is responsible for the negotiations, has failed to deliver
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