Το Ελληνικό Κτηματολόγιο

Evangelia Balla

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The onset of the crisis in Greece directly highlighted the chronic problem of the lack of reliable data on both public and private property in terms of the pursuit of two primary goals set from the very beginning: firstly, the need to reduce public debt through privatizations and exploitation of public property and, secondly, the need to reduce budget deficit through the potential increase in public revenue from the taxation of private immovable property. However, the level of completion of the Hellenic Cadastre did not allow its full utilization to clarify the status of the public real estate assets, on the one hand, and to link the Cadastre to the property database for fiscal purposes, by the Ministry of Finance, on the other hand. Thus, the completion of the Hellenic Cadastre System (HCS) and the completion of Forest Maps and delineation of coastal zones for the whole of the Greek territory were included in the long-term structural reforms to improve the business environment and to increase the country's competitiveness.
Overall, as far as the Cadastre development is concerned, the eight-year period since the onset of the crisis has been dense with institutional and organizational initiatives and changes. In the same vein, the impact of budgetary constraints and government instability in various aspects of this process has been noteworthy. At the same time, numerous ambitious targets were set, coupled with strict deadlines but not necessarily taking into account either the scope, costs and consequences of this effort or the organizational and managerial capabilities of the administrative structures that were faced with this challenge.
At first sight, the results can be characterized as inferior in absolute terms. The cadastral survey was completed for 6% of the total Greek territory (17% of total property rights) at the onset of the crisis in 2009, whereas this rate had only increased to 7.8% by early 2018 (28.7% of total property rights). Nevertheless, the cadastral survey of 84.6% of the Greek territory is currently underway (62.2% of property rights), while the collection of data concerning ownership declarations is expected to begin in autumn 2018 for the most part. On the other hand, the cadastral survey has not yet started for 7.6% of the Greek territory (9.1% of registrable rights). As far as Forest Maps are concerned, the progress made so far appears to be huge in terms of absolute numbers, considering that the rate of ratified Forest Maps in 2009 was minimal compared to the 32.2% achieved by June 2018. Significant progress has also been made concerning the coastal zones: its delineation was fragmented and accounted for a mere 8% of total coastline in 2014, while by the end of 2018, it is expected to be complete for the whole of the Greek territory, after successive legislative interventions and changes in the previous legislative framework, based on the digital orthophoto maps produced by the Hellenic Cadastre SA in 2008 in the context of the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF). Numerical progress has also been made in terms of the interim period of operation of the Cadastre: in 2009, 95 Interim Cadastral Offices were in operation in Greece, while 117 Interim Cadastral Offices are in operation today.
At the organizational level, the changes of the previous period are equally impressive: in 2013, the Hellenic Mapping and Cadastre Organisation (HEMCO, legal entity of public law), which had been established in 1986 for the development and operation of the National Cadastre, was abolished with a partial transfer of its responsibilities to its—until then—operational branch, the KTIMATOLOGIO SA, followed by the establishment of a new single central organization, the National Cadastre and Mapping Agency SA. Furthermore, in 2018, another legal entity of public law was introduced: the Hellenic Cadastre, supervised by the Minister of Environment and Energy, succeeding and replacing the National Cadastre and Mapping Agency SA. Upon establishing this new public institution, the supervision and operation of the Registration and Mortgages System is transferred from the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of Environment, while its abolishment almost two centuries after its introduction is more clearly defined (Law 4512/2018). In particular, by January 2020, Law 4512/2018 provides for the abolition of 392 Mortgage Offices and their replacement by 17 Cadastral Offices and 77 Branch Offices. However, the complete abolition of the Registrations and Mortgages System will occur upon completion of the cadastral mapping across the country, i.e. until 30/6/2021. By that date, the Hellenic Cadastre System is expected to operate all over the country's territory.
Overall, during this period, the fundamental contradiction between intended goals and the means to achieve them became apparent. On the one hand, as early as 2012, the year 2020 was designated as the milestone for the completion of the Cadastre, notwithstanding that this milestone shall be bound to revisions depending on the project's progress over time. On the other hand, the budgetary constraints arising from the crisis, or specific political choices, result in stifling conditions for achieving this goal. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that during this period, the Hellenic Cadastre has been in the spotlight from abroad, with two distinct phases of technical assistance: the first phase, in the framework of the European Commission Task Force for Greece (TF-GR) with the participation of foreign experts from EU countries under the coordination of the Netherland's Cadastre, and the second, with the assistance of the World Bank in agreement with the European Commission. It should also be pointed out that, despite constant changes in the political leadership and administration of the competent organizations for the development of the HCS, its implementation seems to be following—albeit with delays—the guidelines laid down in the Memoranda of Understanding on Specific Economic Policy Conditionality, albeit with certain variations (e.g. nature of the legal entity of the single central organization).
However, what remains to be done requires mobilizing significant forces and resources, both human and financial, and tremendous administrative, organizational and operational efforts. Different, competing, and maximalist goals and tight deadlines have been set, while the question remains about the ability of public administration and its human resources to respond to this task. On the one hand, the goal of completing the Cadastre for the whole of the Greek territory has to be achieved by June 2021, as set out after the last revision of the deadline. On the other hand, another goal has been set, namely the gradual abolition of the 357 Private Mortgage Offices and the 33 Public Mortgage Offices of the country within a mere 24 months after the adoption of Law 4512/2018, to establish new regional structures involving 17 Cadastral Offices and 77 Branches.
Lastly, another important aspect is the challenge of transforming the National Cadastre and Mapping Agency SA into the new legal entity of public law, namely Hellenic Cadastre, with the integration of the personnel of the Private and Public Mortgage Offices and the completion—as soon as possible—of all necessary administrative and organizational adjustments for this major organizational and operational transition. On the occasion of the memoranda, the required political consensus was achieved, and the efforts to develop the Cadastre were intensified. Nevertheless, after eight years, the challenge of completing the Cadastre still remains.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationΜΕΤΑΡΡΥΘΜΙΣΕΙΣ ΣΤΗ ΔΗΜΟΣΙΑ ΔΙΟΙΚΗΣΗ ΣΤΗ ΔΙΑΡΚΕΙΑ ΤΗΣ ΚΡΙΣΗΣ
Subtitle of host publication ΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΗΣΗ/ ΠΕΡΙΓΡΑΦΗ/ ΑΠΟΤΙΜΗΣΗ
EditorsCalliope Spanou
PublisherHellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy
Chapter5
Pages98-159
Number of pages61
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Cite this