Greece’s Environment Minister Kostis Hadzidakis just announced eight projects dedicated to making his country much more environmentally friendly in the future. A video debuted on World Environment Day features the minister discussing programs for phasing out the use of lignite, as well as moves to provide incentives for those who purchase electric vehicles including cars, bikes, and scooters.
Previously, Greek Prime Kyriakos Mitsotakis presented his government’s program to encourage the transition to electricity in the coming years. The prime minister also put forth incentives and tax breaks for individuals and companies switching to electric vehicles. He announced Greece having set aside €100 million euros for the purchase of electric cars in the next 18 months.
Minister Hadzidakis also announced an energy savings program for homes dubbed “Exoikonomo”, as well as other energy reforms including the ongoing grid expansion plan were ministry priorities.
A few days ago ANA-MPA reported that volunteers mobilized by the A.C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation launching a campaign to eradicate single-use plastic in cooperation with the Environment Ministry. At a meeting in Schinias Mr. Hatzidakis said Greece will adopt a European Union directive banning single-use plastic items such as straws, forks, and knives this month with the aim of phasing them out by July 2021.
According to news from GTP, 17 new recycling and waste management units are set to be installed in short order, and draft legislation was being prepared for the withdrawal of single-use plastics as of 1 July 2021.
Earlier this week, Hadzidakis announced the creation (or completion) of two new bike routes one of which would connect the center of Athens with the coast.
Earlier this year, Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis told reporters “If there’s one country in Eastern Europe that really can innovate and lead a sustainable tourism effort, Greece is that country.” Apparently, the administration aims to not only lead in coronavirus pandemic response, but in other key areas as well.
Previously, I criticized the tourism ministry for being “behind donkeys” with respect to sustainable policies, but this was mainly because Mr. Theoharis and others in the administration had not sought the help of the world’s leading experts on island tourism. That story was focused on the case of Santorini, and Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino, who was never in a discussion he should have been leading. While I may have been right about including top experts, clearly I was premature in assessing the administration’s capability to adapt.