It's official. It's not just me listening to Greek conspiracy theorists about arson being the cause of forest fires. At least, the cause of those regular small forest fires, that clearly got disastrously out of hand this year.
Even the European Parliament agrees here. A short extract:
In a resolution adopted on Tuesday (4 September), the European Parliament urged the European Commission to provide financial aid to the regions most affected by forest fires this summer with the cost of the damage assessed at some €1.2 to €4 billion.
But MEPs also condemned the practice of allowing construction on protected and non-authorised areas, including burnt-down forests, which experts believe motivated arsonists as a way of obtaining new land.
It is estimated that there are around 2 million illegal land holdings in Greece. As the only EU country without a full land registry, it is easier to have burnt land reclassified as farmland and start building on it.
"It is a disgrace that property developers should be allowed to take advantage of these disasters by building on former forest land," Swedish Green MEP Carl Schlyter commented.
"It is important that the EU should assist member states affected by these disasters, however it is equally important that those member states in receipt of EU aid ensure that the funds are used as intended," he added.
Earlier the article points out that Greece has had EU money to implement a land registry but didn't bother to do it, so was forced to return the money. Probably the property developers prefer the arson method as it gives them more freedom. Boring to have a legal system making it clear who owns what, and having boundaries marked on plans. Better to have no plans and destroy the natural features marking the boundaries.
Really I have no sympathy for Greece, but I do feel for the home owners who lost everything.