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Parliamentary questions
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15 February 2007
by Dimitrios Papadimoulis (GUE/NGL) , Margrete Auken (Verts/ALE) , Bairbre de Brún (GUE/NGL) , Roberto Musacchio (GUE/NGL) , Kartika Tamara Liotard (GUE/NGL) and Adamos Adamou (GUE/NGL)
to the Commission

 Subject: Revision of Article 24 of the Greek Constitution
 Answer in writing 

The Greek Government has announced its intention to revise Article 24 of the Constitution which provides for the obligation to protect forests and the environment. This revision seeks to circumscribe the definition of forests so that large areas of forestry will be declassified and lose the special protection which they enjoy on the basis of the present constitutional provisions; in addition they will probably be seized and used for building. Ecologist groups, forestry experts and environmental organisations as well as the largest lawyers' and magistrates' associations are united in opposing a revision of this Article. The revision of the Constitution falls of course within the exclusive remit of Member States. However, the management, presentation and sustainable development of forestry is a vital concern of existing EU policies.

In view of the increasing paucity of woodland in Greek nature (the increasing number of forest fires), the town planning and housing chaos already existing in Greece (failure to complete the land registry), the fact that woodlands constitute precious ecosystems for animal and plant varieties of great importance for maintaining the rare biodiversity of the Mediterranean , the protection of which is a Commission objective and the Commission's previous declaration that ‘Member States should avoid taking any action which may lead to a worsening of the forestry situation on their territory’, does the Commission believe that amending Article 24 of the Constitution is compatible with existing EU policies and law? Does it agree that the attempt to reduce environmental protection is incompatible with the principles of sustainable development and is at odds with the obligations undertaken by Greece both within the EU and internationally?

Original language of question: ELOJ C 293, 05/12/2007
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