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EU regional funds can power recovery in Greece - says Commissioner Hahn ahead of visit to Ionian Islands and Epirus

(04 November 2013)

EU regional funds can power recovery in Greece - says Commissioner Hahn ahead of visit to Ionian Islands and Epirus

The vital role that EU Regional Funds can play in the recovery of Greece and its regions is the focus of the visit to Corfu and Epirus this week of EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn. 

The two day visit from Monday November 4-5 is part of Commissioner Hahn's undertaking to visit all 13 of the Greek regions. It comes at a critical time as fundamental reforms to Regional Policy should get final approval from the European parliament in the coming days and planning for the next generation of EU investments is also reaching a final stage. Commissioner Hahn will be meeting with businesses, local representatives and visiting EU co financed projects. He will stress the importance of regions in Greece using the investments to support key sectors and to identify their particular  assets to stimulate growth and create good lasting jobs. 

In Corfu Commissioner Hahn will focus on support for quality and sustainable tourism in the Ionian islands  -  and specifically how environmental projects are key to this in this region and beyond. Experts from the environment directorate of the European Commission will be travelling with Commissioner Hahn to debate alongside him with business and local political representatives including the Governor of Ionian Islands, Mr. Spyridon Spyrou. They will discuss how the treatment of waste and supply of clean water can support the islands' tourism industry.  

Speaking ahead of the visit Commissioner Hahn said, "it is very clear that tackling these issues creates a virtuous cycle that will benefit local people but also visitors to Greece's regions and investors too. EU Regional funds have a clear role to play in helping to provide clean water and tackling the problems of waste treatment which can blight some of the most beautiful parts of Europe and drive visitors away. The future prosperity of these islands depends to great degree on tackling this for once and for all." 

He added,"I think EU regional funds can power the recovery we are starting to see in Greece. But the challenge is to target the money in the right places - to encourage growth, to support reform. Crucially we must direct investments where they can have the most impact to improve the wellbeing of people and create good and lasting jobs." 

In Epirus, the focus will partly be on the role that EU regional funds can have in supporting the health sector and moves to modernise and reform it. Commissioner Hahn will meet business and stakeholders as well as the Governor of Epirus, Alexandros Kachrimanis.