The Greek government has approved Greece’s first crematorium, which will be built in Athens after the Environment and Energy Minister George Stathakis signed a decision, allowing for construction of the cremation facility.
Cremations were legalised in Greece in 2006, however, the country has not built a facility as yet.
The ministerial decision now allows construction of a crematorium in a city-owned plot in the Athens area of Elaionas, together with a park surrounding the facility.
According to the Greek government, this brings the country in line with European legislation following years of delays prompted mainly by objections from the Greek Orthodox Church who said it would not be allowed for those of the Greek Orthodox faith, which is the majority of the population.
Currently, those seeking to cremate their deceased family members have been transporting the bodies to Bulgaria for an estimated 10 thousand euros.
Once local cremation centres are open and running, the average cost is reported to be around 600 euros.
Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, described the measure as “one of the most important and necessary reforms”, while Athens’ Mayor, Giorgos Kaminis, said it was a “landmark step”.
“It is a very important development, which upholds the state’s obligation towards citizens’ fundamental rights,” said Kaminis, who has been pushing for the legislation since 2014. He said the town hall had faced countless difficulties correcting “weaknesses in the legal framework” to arrive at this point.