A new Eleftherotypia report suggests the Ministry of Finance took €250m from the national land registry agency to boost the primary surplus figures. This was part of the miraculous surplus they took to the elections and to the EU as evidence of their good work. Greece and Albania are the only European countries without a complete land registry.
The fate of €250m collected in fees from property owners and earmarked for use in completing the country’s land registry has been raised by engineers and lawyers involved in the project. This was after the agency responsible for creating the mapping halted payments to its suppliers and clients and ceased most of its activities.
In actual fact, the money represents the total cash reserves of the geomapping agency and came from the €35 application fee that property owners paid to register their properties in urban centres since 2008. By law, this money was exclusively for the purpose of expanding and completing the creation of the land registry. Greece and Albania are the only European countries without a complete land registry. After failed attempts in the 1990s to create one, the effort was renewed in 2008. Although €1bn has been spent over 20 years on the cadastre – much of it EU funds – only about a fifth of the project has been completed.
The Eleftherotypia report, which is based on information from engineers and lawyers involved in the cadastre project, said that the agency has already started closing some of its offices, halted payments to its suppliers and clients and, more seriously, suspended its activities, plunging the process of creating property and forestry registries into uncertainty. The article added that the board of the agency has not met since April.
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