Greece begins to sell islands to raise cash

General view of the harbor in Spetses, Greece. To help deal with its ongoing debt issues, Greece has start to sell its islands.

David Brancaccio: Now on to financially-stressed Greece, where there word the country is selling off islands to raise money. The small island of Oxia is being sold to the royal family Qatar and more are on the block.

Joining me is Nick Malkoutzis, deputy editor of the English language edition of the Greek newspaper Kathimerini. Mr. Malkoutzis, good morning.

Nick Malkoutzis: Good morning.

Brancaccio: So tell me what’s going on with this islands.

Malkoutzis: In this case, the island that’s apparently been sold to the Qatari royal family is the island of Oxia. Its area’s about 1,200 acres and it seems to have been sold for about 5 million euros.

Brancaccio: Nick, how do you feel about this -- Greece selling off chunks of itself?

Malkoutzis: Well, look -- it is quite an eye catching story. There is an extra layer of sensitivity if you like because Turkey disputes the ownership of some islands in the Aegean sea. The truth is that the smaller islands have been up for sale for a very very long time, it’s not something new. So clearly when it happens at a time when Greece is at such a difficult economic crisis, then there is concern that this may come back to haunt the country in the future. If for instance, if the islands or parts of the mainland even are given to big property developments that will end up destroying the very essence of Greece which is its unspoiled nature, it’s sun, it’s beaches and so on.

Brancaccio: Nick Malkoutzis, deputy editor of the English edition of the Greek newspaper Kathimerini. Thank you very much.

Malkoutzis: Thank you.

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio

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