Privatizations: the Greek island of Elafonisos on sale too

Locals and international environmental groups are protesting

19 May, 10:57

    A beach in Elafonisos (from the island website www.elafonisos.biz) A beach in Elafonisos (from the island website www.elafonisos.biz)

    (ANSAmed) - ATHENS, MAY 19 - The magical Greek island of Elafonisos, located in the southern edge of Peloponnese, will be included in the portfolio of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (Taiped), but this sale is going to cause widespread reactions as GreekReporter website writes. More specifically, Taiped is selling 175 acres of the breathtaking beaches of Sarakiniko and Simos. Locals as well as international environmental organizations are protesting against the sale of the beautiful island. The area is under the protection of the European program "Natura 2000" due to the endemic plant species that exist on the island’s beaches and the wider area of Elafonisos. The residents believe that the island’s exploitation will destroy the natural environment. According to Elafonisos Association of Scientists, the beach of Simos is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, while it has been included in the list of the top ten beaches of the world. The Mayor of Elafonisos, Panagiotis Psaromatis with a letter to the president of Taiped Constantinos Maniatopoulos and the Greek Finance Minister, Yiannis Stournaras, expressed his opposition to the government’s plans. "We will by all means continue to protect our unique and sensitive natural environment," he said.

    In 2013, British daily The Guardian placed Elafonisos first on a list of top ten areas with the most beautiful beaches in Greece while the German magazine Geo-Saison has described the island as "a paradise on earth." The same website wrote that the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, after the purchase of the Greek island Oxia in the Ionian Sea, is planning to buy seven more islands located in the Echinades group, Ionian Sea.

    The family of the Emir has already bought half the island of Petalas and will soon proceed in purchasing the whole area. The acquisition of Petalas is considered very important as it is the biggest island in the Echinades group. (ANSAmed).

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