(Greece) – Greece has over four hundred sites that are listed on the European Commission’s Natura 2000 and recently, Greece has announced plans to expand the total area of all these sites. Despite this, only 6 per cent of the country’s waters are protected. This is something that the Greek Environment Ministry plans to rectify.
According to a newspaper article written by Ekathimirini.com, “Greece currently has 403 sites listed under the Natura 2000 network, representing 27.1 percent of the country’s total expanse of 35,747 square kilometers. Of these, 152 include marine sections of larger areas and just 16 are entirely marine areas, representing just 6 percent of the country’s total sea area. This absence of protection was noted two years ago in the EU’s last review on the implementation of community directives for the protection of flora and fauna.”
To fix the situation, the Greek Environment Ministry has submitted a list to Natura of 100 additional sites that encompass the coastal areas so that the waters can be protected.
The Natura 2000 is a prestigious list of beautiful, eco friendly sites that are protected by the state. According to a press statement that was released by the Greek Environment Ministry, “The Award is open to anyone directly involved in the EU’s Natura 2000 – businesses, government bodies, NGOs, volunteers, land owners, educational institutions or individuals. A total of 83 applications from across Europe were received this time. From these, a shortlist of 24 applications was established. A high-level jury then selected the winners.”
Christina Baritaki, a general secretary of the Environment Ministry said that, “Greece meets all the European Union and United Nations targets in terms of biodiversity in the land areas already covered by Natura. Where it is lagging is in its marine environment. As far as the UN is concerned, the target for the protection of biodiversity is management measures covering 17 percent of total land area and 10 percent of total sea area.”