Bill in Parliament: Support for lignite regions, weakening of Greece’s nature and climate agency

Ioli Christopoulou participated in the online public hearing at the Standing Committee of Production and Trade of the Hellenic Parliament on the new bill of the Ministry of Environment and Energy on Friday, July 17, 2021.

Her initial intervention (in Greek):

With her position she noted that it is positive that national funding for the just transition of lignite regions is provided for from the auctioning of CO2 allowances during the 2021-2030 period.

At the same time she noted, that the newly established Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (NECCA) stands to lose the option of being funded through this source for the whole decade, as it is no longer explicitly referred as a potential beneficiary. In fact, this is not the only strike against NECCA. Reference to “biodiversity conservation” is deleted from its scope, even as the Agency is responsible for the management of protected areas, which are the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation measures. Moreover, NECCA is to lose its independence, because of a provision to pre-submit its opinions on the impacts of planned projects within protected to the Ministry’s General Directorate rather than concluding them. This is a serious strike, given that assessing and preventing threats is a core function in protected areas management.

Contrary to these efforts to weaken NECCA, the Ministry of Environment and Energy could have strengthened the new organization and also address gaps in the existing framework, for example with respect to wardening of protected areas and granting co-decision authority to the participatory management committees that are expected to be set up by the Agency’s local units.

Ioli Christopoulou also responded to questions from the Committee members (in Greek):

You can read the memo submitted to the members of the Committee with the Green Tank’s comments on the bill (in Greek) here.

You can watch the whole Committee meeting (in Greek) here.