Structural Funds: the European Union is funding a regional development project in Greece

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Friday, June 1, 2012


The EU wants to stimulate return to growth in Greece by investing heavily in infrastructure, using the Structural Funds. The allowance amounts to 180.9 million euro, and will be used to build a high traffic main road to link the Aktio region to the north-south axe in western Greece.

Commenting on the decision, Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn said “This is an emblematic infrastructure project which will benefit the Greek economy. Our joint efforts to overcome financial and technical problems are progressively paying off This and other similar projects will contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of the Greek people by creating immediate job opportunities”.

The Aktio project totals 48.5 km, bypassing Lake Ambrakia. It foresees 7 multi-level junctions, 2 same-level junctions and some 40 technical works. This project is part of the Trans‑European Transport Network (TEN-T). The European Union, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), will finance €180.9 million out of a total cost of €232.43 million. This new connection will improve driving conditions, reduce travel times and foster road safety.

This is one of the so-called “major projects”, of which the total public funding is above €50 million and thus subject to a specific decision by the European Commission, whereas other types of projects are approved at national or regional levels.

In November 2011, a list of 181 co-funded priority projects of high investment value was identified together with the Greek authorities. The list accounts for 56% of the available cohesion policy investment in Greece for the period 2007-2013. On it, 12 major projects have been adopted by the Commission, including most recently:

– low-emission urban buses (ETHEL) – (total cost: €56.8 million);

– renovation of “Athens Piraeus Electric Railways” (ISAP) lines and Omonoia tunnel – (total cost: €97.4 million).

The Commission is closely monitoring the implementation of these projects while helping the authorities to optimize the use of EU investment.

For 2007–13, Greece has been allocated €20.4 billion in total cohesion policy investment.

Source European Commission – Press release

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Paul Champion

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