Strategic suicide

12.12.2021 • 21:04

The recent strategic investment law could have significant political implications. The government has lowered the bar on what it calls “strategic”, remaining vague about the expected benefits, with no real connection to sustainability. The intention is understandable: immediate approval, at times that do not even allow for the open consultation required by the EU. In case of delay, all responsibilities, from urban planning to environmental, are transferred to the supervision of the Minister of Development.

The problem is that the lack of a safety valve is a strategic blow. Unique islands such as Santorini and Mykonos have been oversaturated. Islands like Ios are being plundered by “strategic investors”. Operating heavy-duty units can help investors, but rarely sustainability or local communities. The recommendations of the Pissaridis report to specify the conditions for the implementation of such “Special Plans”, to reduce the derogations and to strengthen the environmental policy, gave way to the policy of immediate licensing. At what price?

In a year of environmental disasters caused by fires and floods, how can we justify the derogatory “stream redefining”? If unavoidable rains destroy the property of those who do not have a “tooth”, what will be the strategic justification? And why should a place be altered without clear restrictions in urban planning, degrading the local strategic competitive advantage, based on the investor’s surface? And if the government thinks there should be exceptions somewhere, why not focus on full transparency instead of just asking for “executive summaries” for the proposed investments? Two problems arise here.

First, in terms of narrative, the government is now vulnerable to the accusation that it is creating a Latin American form of stratification, where those who have a financial surface are not only subsidized by the state, but also do not have to follow the rules that apply to everyone else, as long as they consent. Council of the Ministers. In anticipation of the developments in the law on competition, where it will be clear how the government treats the economic power in Greece, the law on strategic investments raises issues of equity. Second, from an environmental point of view, the “actually” strategy (emerging strategy) is in direct contrast to the expressed “green agenda”.

Environmental law as well as the strategic investment law will need to be implemented with much more safety and transparency.

Behind this worrying situation may be an air of supremacy. Leading the polls is addictive and creates a sense of superiority that leads to complacency and – fatally – mistakes. The problem is that policy polls are like business profitability: a time-lapse indicator of how well things have gone so far. They do not show the momentum, which, when recorded, is usually too late to reverse. That is why, in the field of strategy, we focus on elements that can give us a foretaste of future developments (forward-looking indicators). The worrying phenomenon is that the government in recent months seems to be ignoring such indicators. It has largely lost the support of even the mediocre environmentalists, including environmental organizations, and the Minister of Development’s statement that “for all organizations to be opposed, I do something good” has unfortunately turned from graphic aversion to government position. The recent law on the environment and the strategic reversal discussed in the Parliament for investments, if they are not improved, will leave a mark in two years, when, for both the environment and the political dynamics, it will be too late.

The mobilization in the KINAL elections, which refers to the dynamics that gave Kyriakos Mitsotakis the leadership of N.D. and then the prime minister, is the most tangible message that government complacency can become self-destructive. The lightness with which the issue of the environment is dealt with by the government, despite its stylistic commitment to “green growth”, can be not only a serious threat to our natural and man-made environment, but also a political suicide. There is still room for adjustment, but it will require a change of priorities in practice, not in words: First, we will need to implement the environmental law and the strategic investment law with much more safety, transparency and justification for why an investment (especially in tourism). ) is a “strategy”, as well as coordination with Regional Spatial / Development and Urban Plans

* Mr. Michael G. Iakovidis ( holds the Sir Donald Gordon Chair of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the London Business School, where he is Professor of Strategy. He is a Strategy Advisor at the Hellenic Society of Environment and Culture.


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