Eight environmental groups in Greece are expressing their opposition to a coastline bill tabled in parliament by the finance ministry, as the legislation comes up for discussion this week.

The organizations, which include Greenpeace and WWF Greece, claim the ministry is planning to eliminate an existing 30-meter shoreline use limit, thus potentially allowing construction right at water’s edge

In a statement issued on Tuesday, WWF Greece maintained that if approved the law will lead to uncontrolled “commercial exploitation” of the country’s coasts, riversides, lakesides and beaches, at a particularly crucial time when the climate crisis is imminent.

The environmentalists also claimed that the draft legislation also lifts a ban on on granting concessions on smaller beaches, which would endanger valuable ecosystems.

Among others, the groups called on the government to formulate a national climate resilience policy that includes compliance and ratification of the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean, which imposes a 100-meter coastline use limit; establishing protection and management measures for Natura 2000 protected areas in Greece; banning access to funding for investments that compromise natural habitats and coastal ecosystems; and delegate authority to inspection bodies so they can intervene in cases of violations.

In 2020, Greece was found to be in violation of EU law by the Court of Justice with regard to the protection of its Natura 2000 network under the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC.

According to Economy and Finance Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, the proposed law is aimed at better utilizing public coastlines and beach properties.