The draft bill on environmental licences tabled in parliament will help make Greece a point of reference for attracting the investments that the country needs, Environment and Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), released on Sunday.
Hatzidakis noted that the bill that tabled on Saturday, along with a spatial planning bill that will follow, will lay firm foundations for bringing investments and promoting growth: "The public sector will be able to say either yes or no to the issue of a licence, on the basis of European and Greek legislation. It will no longer be able to delay environmental licencing, waiting for the country to grow on hot air!"
Replying to criticism over the timing of the bill's submission to parliament, the minister pointed out that discussion on the issue had effectively started in October 2019, with both environmental organisations - with which the environment ministry was now having regular meetings every two months for the first time in its history - and with relevant agencies and organisations, with many of their observations taken seriously into account.
Concerning the phasing out of lignite, Hatzidakis said the reasons were both political - with Europe remaining dedicated to a green agenda - and economic, with the Public Power Corporation (PPC) currently losing millions each year from the operation of lignite-burning power plants.