The new Law is a codification of the current regulatory framework for the protection of antiquities and cultural heritage. It should be, therefore, emphasized that it does not, in fact, introduce new provisions. The purpose of the bill, pursuant to its content, is to enable administrative bodies as well as citizens to have an understanding, as well as direct access, to the overall legislation that governs the relevant issues.
Τhe code incorporates all the existing laws on antiquities and cultural heritage, as well as relevant provisions scattered in various other laws. More specifically, the following have been included in the code: Law 3028/2002 (with the exception of articles 66 and 71), article 2 of Law 3521/2006 concerning intangible cultural heritage, articles 6, 7, 9, 14 of Law 4688/2020 on visitable underwater archeological sites and shipwrecks, articles 2-10 of Law 4355/2015 on the return of cultural goods unlawfully removed from the territory of Greece, as well as articles 6, 9 and 13 par. 1 of Law 3658/2008 concerning measures for the protection of cultural goods. As expected, the existing legislation has been codified as currently in force, i.e., incorporating the amendments made from time to time.
Although very few substantial modifications in terms of content have taken place, we’d like to make reference to the amendments made to articles 2, 10 par. 3 and 73 par. 9 and 10 of Law 3028/2002, which were introduced in order to align these provisions with the relevant rulings of the Council of State. More specifically:
- The concept of an immovable monument is clarified, while it is also defined under which circumstances activities and projects may be established in close proximity to such monuments.
- Mines and mining operations within zones of archaeological protection are prohibited starting from the enactment of the Law.
Greek legislation is far from systematic; it is, in fact, infamous for being intricate and complex. So any codification attempt is always welcome, in every field. All the more so, when new legislation acknowledges and, to the extent possible, incorporates the judgments of our Supreme Courts, thereby promoting security and reducing risk.