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A new attempt to permit the construction of crematoriums in Greece

09 November 2013 / 17:11:47  GRReporter
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Various organizations and individuals are trying to change the legislative framework in an attempt to defend their right for cremation of the dead and the creation of a crematorium in Greece. According to them, it has been legislatively decided to permit the creation of such a place, but the strict limits of this law have made it virtually impossible to do so.

"Attempts to apply the law for the construction of a crematorium within the existing cemetery showed that this is not possible in practice. In most cases, there is not enough space, and where there is space, local priests intervene and as a result a crematorium cannot be built," said for Kathimerini Antonis Alakiotis, chairman of the committee for the right of cremation of the dead in Greece. According to him, the legislative initiative presented by a legislative amendment of SYRIZA for the construction of crematoriums outside cemeteries has been rejected by competent minister Yiannis Maniatis.

Maniatis has promised that the issue will be resolved with the introduction of the relevant provision of the Ministry of Environment - something which is disturbingly delayed. "Both Maniatis and Deputy Minister Kalafatis have said nothing at all so far. Hopefully, they will keep their promise," added Alakiotis.

The committee has prepared a legislative amendment that changes the legal framework in this way allowing this problem to be solved. The law firm of Nikos Alevizatos has helped towards this free of charge and the text is considered to be completed from a legal perspective. "We are trying to move the proposal. We have a law and a provision that attempt to resolve these issues, but with the aim never to be implemented. I admit that this was the aim from the very beginning," said Lucy Kyousopoulou, compiler of the legislative amendment. "As for issues that would certainly provoke a backlash, the law should not leave the option not to be applied," she added.

To date, all attempts to build a crematorium at cemeteries, as provided by law, have stalled:

• Markopoulo: initially, the municipal council decided unanimously to create a crematorium. Of the 30 attending the first meeting, there were only 22 at the second one, following the collection of signatures on the initiative of the local priest, by which the construction of a crematory is condemned because of ... environmental reasons.

• Zografou: a decision was taken by a majority on the construction of a crematorium. A study of the environment was ordered and approved by the Ministry of Environment. An architectural feasibility study was also approved. The procedure was frozen because the municipality has not submitted the relevant documents in order to settle the ownership of the cemetery.

• Skisto: the management of the cemetery, according to information, has not even sent a request to the municipalities of Perama and Keratsini in order to be informed whether these municipalities agree or disagree with the construction of a crematorium, as provided by law. Moreover, the order of surveys has been delayed to the point of freezing.

• Pilea, Thessaloniki: the decision for the construction of a crematorium was taken following a proposal by the deputy mayor in charge of the cemetery, instead of the Commission on Quality of Life, as required, and was rejected by the district administration. The procedure has not been repeated in the appropriate way.

• Volos: a request has been submitted for the construction of a crematorium at a location provided for an ossuary which does not meet the requirements.

Tags: cemetery crematorium legislative amendment delay
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