Ecologists and wealthy landowners unite against a project in Greece

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On the Greek island of Corfu, an unlikely coalition of wealthy landowners, environmental activists and angry locals has sprung up after a luxury resort was officially launched in July in a pristine and unspoiled forest. The Kassiopi property worth 120 million euros is located in an Erimitis pine forest, in one of the most unspoiled areas of the island near the Albanian coast. New York-based investment fund NCH Capital, which obtained the title deeds in 2016, plans to build a five-star 90-room hotel, luxury residences and a marina. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitstotakis had already drawn the wrath of environmentalists for having encouraged investments in protected natural areas. Among these projects, the exploration for hydrocarbons in the Ionian Sea, rich in marine fauna, as well as the promotion of wind farms on the Greek islands. But this time, the project also displeases wealthy owners of Corfu.

During his visit to Corfu on July 11 to inaugurate the Kassiopi project, Kyriakos Mitsotakis faced surprising opposition from one of the island’s most successful owners, British financier Nathaniel Rothschild, a member of the famous family. bankers. In two tweets, Mr Rothschild called the project a “total disaster” which will bring Corfu back to “the mass development of the 1970s” and “do nothing for the local economy”. The financier says there that the preserved coast of Erimitis risks “destruction” and adds that “Mitsotakis is foolish to defend this project”. Another notable opponent is British financier Ben Goldsmith, brother of Conservative Minister Zac Goldsmith. A privileged vacation spot for wealthy families like the Agnellis in Italy, north-east Corfu has been renamed by British media “Kensington-sur-mer”.

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