‘Fast-tracking’ investments in Toplou

There is evidence of a conflict of interests at the Greek Ministry of Development. On 12 February 2013 an appeal was lodged with the Greek Council of State (revocation application) against the decision of the Interministerial Committee for Strategic Investments to include the ‘ITANOS GAIA’ investment project in the fast-track procedure provided by Law 3894/2010. This project concerns the development of five tourist hotels with a total capacity of 1 936 beds on the Sidero Peninsula in the municipality of Sitia which forms part of the NATURA network (GR 4320006). The appeal was lodged by residents of the area in which the proposed site of the investment project is located.

The applicants have also applied for the General Secretariat of Strategic Investments to grant them access to the administrative documents relating to the approval of the project so as to enable them to further expound the reasons for their action before the courts. The documents in question are the company's application to the Greek administration and the recommendations by Greek public institutions relating to the implementation of this project. The application by residents to obtain access to these documents was rejected on the grounds that they have no legitimate interest in the matter.

In view of the above, will the Commission say:

—Does the refusal to provide such information constitute a violation of Directive 2003/4 on public access to environmental information and the relevant provisions of the Aarhus Convention?

Moreover, the managing senior partner of the law firm who appears on the website of the company planning to invest in Crete as its legal advisor in Greece is also a member of the board of directors of the Ministry’s ‘Invest in Greece’ service. At is meeting of 18 September 2012, the Board approved the recommendation by ‘Invest in Greece’ regarding this specific project.

— The project was approved by the Interministerial Committee for Strategic Investments on the recommendation of ‘Invest in Greece’ which was approved by its Board of Directors, including the Board member in question. Does this constitute a violation of the provisions of European law?