29.630 citizens and dozens of environmental organizations demand the withdrawal of Article 219 of public contracts law.
3 March 2021
Within just 5 days, 29.630 citizens united their voice against the unacceptable provision of the draft law that is being discussed at the Greek Parliament. Moreover, following an appeal by 23 NGOs, the Nature 2000 Committee, the central scientific advisory body of the Greek state for biodiversity, issued an announcement for the withdrawal of Article 219 of draft law on “Modernization, Simplification and Reform of the Regulatory Framework of Public Contracts” proposed by the Ministry of Development and Investment.
Environmental organizations, which have already submitted interventions to the government and all Members of Parliament, are calling for the withdrawal, even at the last minute, of the provision paving the way for the fragmented protection of segments of Natura 2000 sites based on investment plans.
In an open letter, 29 organizations urge the Prime Minister to intervene to withdraw Article 219.
If the government insists on maintaining the provision in the bill, the organizations ask Members of Parliament to vote against it.
As already pointed out in the organizations’ announcements, Article 219:
- Is contrary to Article 6 Par. 1 of Directive 92/43/EEC which requires conservation measures to meet the ecological requirements of protected habitats and species. The designation of “protection sub-zones” and of their “protective” status based on the implementation of development projects, and not on ecological criteria, is clearly contrary to the Directive. With the procedure introduced by Article 219, investment plans and interests will in essence dictate the status of the “sub-zone“.
- Contradicts the rational way of designing a protected area, which must be done with the sole criterion of preserving valuable, rare or endangered elements of nature.
- Creates ad hoc regimes in “sub-zones” leading to the fragmentation of Natura 2000 sites and their protection, contrary to the requirements of Directive 92/43/EEC, as interpreted by the Court of Justice of the EU, for integrated and systematic formulation of biodiversity conservation measures.
- Ostentatiously ignores the fact that Greece has been convicted by the Court of Justice of the EU as the country has been violating Article 6 of Directive 92/43/EEC for years.
- Degrades the purpose of specific environmental studies, management plans and Presidential Decrees that are already underway for all Natura 2000 areas of the country, under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, with EU co-financing.
- Increases administrative obstacles and time delays, as it burdens the competent services with a parallel process of approval of studies.
- Introduces an extremely dangerous circumvention of urban planning legislation, as formulated by the recent law 4759, adopted in December 2020. According to law 4759, special protection regimes, such as those of protected areas, have priority and are incorporated into urban plans, not the other way around.The provision that special urban plans will formulate the protection measures of the Natura 2000 areas is a blatant bypass of the protective status of the country’s biodiversity conservation areas.
Article 219 goes against Greece’s commitment to the objectives of the European Green Deal, which places biodiversity conservation at the heart of the European Union’ s growth strategy.
The organizations call on the government, with the weight now falling on the Prime Minister himself, to stop treating the country’s natural wealth as a building block to be developed and to meet national obligations under EU law to protect valuable biodiversity.
The environmental organizations:
- Αλκυόνη – Aegean Wildlife Hospital
- DRASI – AGRIAZOI
- ELLINIKI ETAIRIA – SOCIETY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND CULTURAL HERITAGE
- HELLENIC SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF NATURE
- HELLENIC ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY
- SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF PRESPA
- PROTECT AOOS
- PELAGOS INSTITUTE
- ECOLOGICAL RECYCLING SOCIETY
- ORGANIZATION EARTH
- PINDOS PERIVALLONTIKI
- TOULIPA GOULIMYI
- NATURE FRIENDS
- The Green Tank
- WWF HELLAS
- Online petition “Say No to the Nature Destruction Bill“
- Letter to the Greek Prime Minister (Greek) → https://thegreentank.gr/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/20210303_Art219_PM_29NGOsLtr.pdf
- Official Announcement of the Scientific Committee on Biodiversity of the Ministry of Environment (Greek) →