Paradise for sale: Bankrupt Greece sells islands, palaces to stay afloat

Mandraki Marina, Rhodes town - the location of the famed Colossus of Rhodes and now for sale
Mandraki Marina, Rhodes town – the location of the famed Colossus of Rhodes and now for sale

Last week the Greek finance minister completed tortuous negotiations with the European Union to secure the latest $10billion tranche of bailout funding the country needs to stay afloat.

But the money has come at a massive, possibly irreversible, price in terms of culture and pride.

One of the main conditions that the European Union  – mainly driven by demands of its most powerful nation, Germany – has imposed on Greece in return for the cash is a huge program of privatization.

The Greek government is in the process of selling off 70,000 lots of state assets – everything from ancient palaces, to stretches of coastline, to the state gambling company to entire idyllic islands, are up for grabs to the highest bidder.

The gorgeous island of Rhodes is unusual in that more than a third of its land is government owned – and is now being sold.

The world famous Mandraki Marina in Rhodes town – the location legend has it, of the Colossus of Rhodes – is among the land for sale.

Other stretches of the Rhodes coast – mile after mile of pristine beach on the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea – are also up for grabs. They include a large tranche of land ear the resort at Afandou, popular with hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.

The peninsula of Prasinisi, one of the best wind surfing venues in Europe is also among the lots.

Elsewhere in Greece the royal palace where Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain was born, will be sold. The billionaire emir of Qatar has just finalized the purchase of six Greek islands and a Russian oligarch bought the island of Skorpios for $100m, as a birthday present for his daughter.

The sell-off has caused fury among sections of the Greek public and its opposition parties, who say more private-public partnerships should have been entered in to, to prevent the loss of so much of Greece’s territory and ancient culture.

But in Rhodes, local politicians say the deal to sell off the land is inevitable, given the parlous state of Greek national finances. They said they’d be working to ensure the best possible economic and cultural outcome for the island.

Greece’s economy has been severely damaged by the financial crisis, the collapse of a property bubble, what northern European economists say is the country’s relaxed attitude towards paying and collecting taxes, and a bloated public sector.

Unemployment runs at more than 25 per cent and is double that among the under 25s in some parts of the country. Salaries have been slashed and the Greek government forced to deliver a package of austerity measures by the so-called Troika of the European Union.

In effect Greek national finances are being dictated by bankers from Brussels, with the influence of the German government detected and resented by many in Greece. Public demonstrations across the country recently have featured images of German Chancellor Angela Merkel portrayed as the new Adolf Hitler – a reference to the German occupation of parts of Greece during World War 2.

Factfile

The Greek government was forced, as part of the bailout conditions, to cut nearly $10bn from public spending in 2013

Another condition was a fire sale of assets worth $50 billion to reduce Greek’s debt pile

Greek public sector pay rose 50 per cent from 1997-2010

The government also ran up debts paying for the 2004 Olympics

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Monday is the deadline to register for Pennsylvania…

If residents want to vote in the May primary, which includes a vote for a new City Council member, today is the deadline to register.

National

Miss America thinks school should reconsider discipline of…

A Pa. student was suspended for asking Miss America to prom.

Local

Aria Health Torresdale workers caught selling prescription drugs

Two Aria Health at Torresdale employees were fired amid accusations they sold prescription drugs out of the Northeast Philadelphia campus.

National

Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter died Sunday from prostate cancer…

Former U.S. professional boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who spent 19 years in prison for murder and then was released after it was determined he did not get a fair trial,…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Ray Emery steps up in Flyers’ Game 2…

Sure, he allowed two goals in the Rangers’ first four shots Sunday afternoon, but it’s about how you start, not how you finish.

NHL

Flyers come from behind, even series with Rangers

The Flyers overcame a two-goal deficit to get a much-needed win at Madison Square Garden Sunday.

MLB

Phillies get set for four against the Dodgers

The Phillies will face tough starting pitching out west against the Dodgers this week.

MLB

Phillies notebook: Cole Hamels returns this week

The Phillies should receive a big boost when Cole Hamels returns during the Dodgers series.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.