Europe’s straggler


With temperatures of up to 45 degrees, prolonged
drought, and strong winds, forest fires broke out in the
summer of 2007 in many parts of Greece. The disaster
claimed 77 lives and caused damage amounting to at
least 1.5 billion euros. Including longer-term consequences
for tourism and agriculture, the total damage
figure is likely to be five billion euros.


The authorities suspect that many of these fires were
deliberately started by land speculators, who hoped,
after the fire, to hastily build foundations, and in this
way stake out claims for new development land. Presumably,
countless illegal garbage dumps had also
ignited spontaneously. The fires were at the same time a
sign that conservation and the environment and do not
play much of a role in Greek public awareness. In the
past the EU has repeatedly imposed penalties on Greece
for violations of environmental standards and regulations
on water conservation and waste management.




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