Ios: General rehearsal for the privatization of the landscapes of special natural beauty of the Aegean?

New illegal roads on the island ● The … investors of Ad. Georgiadis continue unabated environmental disaster ● Members of environmental organizations, such as the Italian professor Andreas Bosco, who denounce the interests, are in danger of being expelled from the Greek State
The revelations of “Ef.Syn.” Reach the Parliament for the timeless environmental destruction of Ios by uncontrolled business interests under the guise of “strategic investments”, which have been approved by the government with the blessings of the Minister of Development Adonis Georgiadis.

In our most recent publication (4.11.2020, “The strategic occupation of Ios by foreign companies”) we had highlighted that now in the beautiful Aegean island more than 35% of its land has passed into the hands of public limited companies of own substantial interests with strange transactions in protected areas of special natural beauty.

According to Government Gazette 2952 / 17.7.2020, the Interministerial Committee for Strategic Investments included in Law 3894/2010 three investment plans in Ios, paving the way for the applicant companies to be granted a number of incentives, such as location, tax facilities, rapid licensing, as well as boosting labor costs. In this way Ios becomes the first place where the tourist exploitation passes en masse from the hands of the residents monopolistically to the anonymous hands of offshore companies.

It is noted that on November 13, 2020 in Parliament, Ad. Georgiadis defended investments in Ios, sided with businessman Michalopoulos, even using as an argument a paid advertisement in the NY Times (which he presented as an article!) About one of the hotels in Ios, which are ranked among the best in the world in advertising.

Following the revelations of “Ef.Syn.” and considering that it is “inconceivable for a favored state to promote as a Strategic Investment business plans that do not have the guarantees of respect in the European and national legislative framework”, 25 SYRIZA MPs with the first MP Nikos Syrmalenios, who knows the case, asked a question to the Ministers of Finance, Development and Investment, Environment and Energy, Labor and Social Affairs, Tourism, Citizen Protection, Interior, Shipping and Island Policy, in which they raise a number of important issues.

According to the deputies, the “Minister of Development in a recent statement pointed out that Enterprise Greece checked all the data of the companies and made a positive suggestion. However, although they have been formally requested with the letter of the Association “Save Ios” dated 29/07/2020, the accompanying files of the investment have not yet been made public. “Obviously, the deliberate ignorance of what has been happening on the island for more than a decade and the laws and rules governing the protection of the environment, the spatial planning and the building conditions are chosen”.

SYRIZA MPs report detailed data on the pile of violations in Ios of the legislative and regulatory framework that governs the protection of the environment, spatial planning and building conditions. They emphasize that the “investment plans were launched by a number of ND-PASOK governments, did not meet even the minimum implementation criteria, the laws were changed to make the illegalities legal. They did not move forward during the rule of SYRIZA and now comes the government of N.D. to reward the illegalities by joining the Strategic Investments, covering the past and promoting a catastrophic for the island “pro-investment” policy “.

It is reminded that only for one of the reported illegalities, the fines imposed so far (approximately 123 thousand euros) are nuggets in front of the disaster that has taken place and continues to take place.

During their on-site visit to the island, the MPs explain that “we witnessed not only the urban planning violations and the environmental disaster but also the illegal opening of roads, as well as the deterioration of the road network on the island”. They talk about the abolition of the rule of law, instrumentalization of tourism development, mockery of audit services, degradation of the tourism product in its traditional successful form, loss of revenue for the State, piles of complaints for violations of labor law (uninsured workforce etc. d.), shrinkage of useful public space. Indeed, many coves and beaches are now fenced off by private interests and are not accessible to visitors and citizens, except for the select tourist hotspots. ”

SYRIZA MPs ask the ministers on what criteria the positive contribution of Enterprise Greece to the Interministerial Committee for Strategic Investments is based, if the Minister of Development intends to review the decision on the inclusion of the above projects based on the above data and ask for immediate action from the RIS in order to preserve the environment of Ios. Finally, they ask Michalis Chrysochoidis if he has investigated the allegations that have been made about the improper exercise of police duties regarding the activities to date of these companies.


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