Greek Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis recently responded to a letter he received from the director of the Mamma Mia! movie, Phyllida Lloyd. In her letter, the director of the blockbuster movie – that brought Skopelos Island and other Greek destinations into the limelight – voiced strong opposition to privatization plans for Greece’s coastline. The letter was also addressed to Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni.
In his response, the finance minister assured that the Greek coastline was not up for privatization and he also congratulated her for the “excellent” movie she directed.
“First of all I would like to congratulate you on your excellent movie “Mamma Mia.” Your movie introduced the Greek islands to a global audience with great skill, sensibility and humor… Let me assure you that we are not privatizing our coastline,” Mr. Hardouvelis wrote.
The finance minister informed Ms. Lloyd on new legislation recently passed in the Greek Parliament that will aim to clearly mark out Greece’s coastline. (Aerial photographs taken in 2008 and 2009 will be used to identify the coast, which will be defined as stretching to at least 300 meters from the shoreline.)
“This is a project that is 70 years overdue, as less than 10 percent of the Greek coastline is clearly identified,” Mr. Hardouvelis informed the director.
“The identification of the coastline improves transparency and inhibits illegal activities that destroy the coastline and the environment. It is the inability to clearly identify the coastline that facilitates illegal building activity and other unacceptable private uses. The new law would prevent all this,” he noted in his letter.
Signing off, the finance minister thanked the director of Mamma Mia! for her interest in Greece and the Greek environment.