Last month, finally, Greece saw the completion of studies for the country’s zoning plans. The studies, delivered to the Environment and Public Works Ministry, concern the national zoning plan as well as special zoning plans for industry, tourism, renewable energy sources and mountain areas.
A public consultation process with other ministries and interested parties is being prepared as we go to press. Tourism professionals say the absence of zoning plans has been the main reason behind the cancellation of large investment schemes – both domestic and foreign – and for generally making Greece unattractive for investment.
Their application will enable investors to plan and proceed with their schemes without fearing that a ruling by the Council of State, the country’s top administrative court, will overturn them. In effect, the zoning plans will be basic instruments for the national economic and housing development of the country, as well as for protection of the environment.
Several large investment projects were blocked by red tape for several years, mainly on the grounds that studies into the environmental effects were inadequate. One of them, the major project in Messinia, is now being implemented. Another, a huge foreign investment project, a hotel complex in Toplu, Crete, seems to have overcome all hurdles also.