Major fire disaster in the historic Amfissa Olive Grove in Greece
Question for written answer E-010810-13
to the Commission
Georgios Toussas (GUE/NGL)
The extensive fire in the historic Amfissa Olive Grove, which has completely burned 4000 hectares containing around 50 000 olive trees, is having a very serious impact on the already reduced incomes of olive growers in the region, who face a rapid increase in production costs and a tax onslaught from the coalition Government of New Democracy and PASOK and previous governments, together with the unpopular Common Agricultural Policy of the EU, the aim of which is to kick small-scale farmers off their farms so that cultivation can be concentrated in the hands of a few large-scale farmers.
The olive grove area that has been burned is not only agricultural farm land and the main source of income in the region, but also the only traditional olive grove in Greece listed as such by the EU. The area marks the most central point in the world famous Delphi landscape, which in 1981 was declared a ‘unique archaeological site and natural site, not only within a Greek context but also in a global context’ (Greek Official Journal 551 B/1981), and was also declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1987, and categorised by the Ministry of Culture in 1985 as Zone A (undeveloped) of the protected archaeological site of Delphi, where any construction or change of land use is prohibited.
What is the Commission’s view regarding the requests of the region’s farmers and employed inhabitants for a full record to be taken immediately of the damage and for immediate compensation for the people affected by the entire disaster and for their loss of income over the whole period, the freezing of the debts owed to the banks and tax authorities by the people affected, and the freezing of taxes and tax hikes. Also, what is its view regarding the need to adopt immediate measures for fire and flood protection, and to man the fire service immediately with permanent employees, provided with appropriate and well-equipped fire engines?
OJ C 206, 02/07/2014