Developers v Durrell: the battle over Corfu's 'jewel of nature

published 01.08.2020 09:00

If anything, say critics, the outbreak of coronavirus – and absence of visitors – has made it chillingly clear that, like so many parts of Greece, Corfu is overly dependent on tourism.

“We do not understand why a government that claims to support sustainable and environmentally friendly development would ever back such an old-fashioned project,” he wrote in the second of two letters to the centre-right leader.

In July, the financier Nathaniel Rothschild, a frequent visitor to his family’s estate in the area, tweeted that that the prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, was “foolish” for endorsing the “Erimitis development fiasco” after the leader attended its ground-breaking ceremony.

On the other are a business-friendly Greek government and the private equity fund NCH Capital, which acquired the natural paradise in north-eastern Corfu when Athens’ cash-strapped state was selling off assets at the height of the country’s debt crisis.

On the one side are campaigners, most visibly Lee Durrell, widow of the British naturalist Gerald, whose portrayal of Corfu in My Family and Other Animals played no small part in evoking the Ionian isle’s charms and beauty – and ultimately bringing tourism to its shores.

by Helena Smith from

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