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Central Macedonia



Visit by Commissioner Hahn

Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn will be in Greece on 19-20th October to outline the most effective way to use EU Regional Funds for growth in the EU's next long-term budget. He will also travel to Central Macedonia where he will meet members of the business community in Northern Greece to assess the impact of regional funds on the ground and with the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Mr Jannis Boutaris. Finally, the Commissioner will visit EU co financed projects in Thessaloniki.

What are the region's priorities?

Central Macedonia is located in Northern Greece. With an area of 19,147 km2 (14,5% of Greece) and a population of almost 2 million inhabitants (17,25% of Greece, Central Macedonia has a GDP per capita of 76 % of the EU average (2009 figures). Its capital, Thessaloniki is the second largest city of Greece almost 800 000 inhabitants (metropolitan area included).

Central Macedonia has a highly diversified production structure with a significant presence in all economic sectors, important infrastructures and international connections by road, by air and by sea.

Its favourable geographical location with common borders with Bulgaria and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and a short distance from the other emerging markets of Southeast Europe make the region a central place. The large industries, the cultural sites, the tourist infrastructure, the fertile plains with rich water resources and the diverse agricultural production are also factors of development.

Finally, the presence of major universities and major research centres contributes to cluster the academic world with the business and economic activities.

Despite these assets, the regional GDP per capita and the employment rate are lower than the national average. The major financial effort through public investment for 2007-13 aims therefore at:

- improving competitiveness and employment through the knowledge and innovation economy;

- improving the accessibility and the position of the region with the rest of North-Eastern Europe intraregional and trans-regional infrastructures

- promoting sustainable economic and social development through rational environmental protection and management of natural resources;

- strengthening the role of urban centres and intraregional economic cohesion;

- utilising tourism and culture for viable growth;

- promoting digital convergence and entrepreneurship.

What contribution does the EU’s regional policy make?

Central Macedonia is one of the three regions, together with Western Macedonia and Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, which is covered by the regional programme 'Central Macedonia –Western Macedonia-Eastern Macedonia & Thrace' which has a total budget of EUR 4.2 billion. Central Macedonia are allocated around EUR 2 billion for the period 2007-2013.

While based on two options, the use of all endogenous development characteristics and the exploitation of the geographical position of the Region, the programme is expected to create approximately 2 000 new jobs.

Some 270 km of roads and 35 km of railway would be constructed or renovated and upgraded, while investment in renewable energy would save the equivalent of 72 300 tons of oil per year. The landscape would be restored in respect of 85 landfills, while 21 solid waste treatment projects will be undertaken.

Additionally, over 24 000 pupils would benefit from entirely new or modernised education infrastructures. The population in the three regions would also benefit from more than 90 healthcare projects in what constitutes a strategic strengthening of primary healthcare in Greece.

Central Macedonia is also very active within European Territorial Cooperation programmes, and more especially in;

  • a cross border cooperation programme with Albania (total budget of EUR 27,825,759 for 2007-2013 - EUR 15,088,783 for Greece and EUR 12,736,976 for Albania-) which objective is to promote sustainable local development in the cross-border area via enhancement of cross-border economic development and promotion and development of the environment and natural and cultural resources.

  • a cross border cooperation programme with Bulgaria (total budget of EUR 132.318.963) which aims at improving quality of life and accessibility and promoting entrepreneurship, networks and investments in human capital in the cross border regions.

  • a cross border cooperation programme with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (total budget of EUR 31.549.723 for 2007-2013 - EUR 20,072,594 for Greece and EUR 11,477,129 for FYROM) which objective is also to enhance convergence by promoting sustainable local development in the cross border area through enhancement of economic development and of environmental resources and the cultural heritage.

Project examples

  • Compressor Station of Natural Gas in Nea Messimvria: EU contribution EUR 23.098.741

    The project involves the installation of a natural gas compressor station in Nea Messimvria Thessaloniki and includes two compression units 7,7 MW each as well as the necessary auxiliary facilities in order to increase the capacity and upgradeability of the existing natural gas transmission system in this area. With this investment, larger volumes of gas will be transported from North (where there are two entry points of natural gas from Bulgaria and Turkey) to the South (where the high consumption is located on an annual basis).

  • Mall Regeneration in the municipality of Kalamarias: EU contribution EUR 4.429.008

    This project aims to renovate the mall and to transform the shopping area of the city of Kalamarias in order to attract new business and economic activities. The purpose is to redesign and reorganize the entire public open space, to improve the infrastructure to make it accessible to disabled persons, to strengthen the presence of urban green places, to facilitate the road connection and to develop the area as an important and easy accessible shopping centre.

  • Supply and installation of a simulation system in the radiation laboratory of the Oncology department at the University Hospital of Thessaloniki: EU contribution EUR 999.600

    This project aims to use new high-tech technologies in the cancer therapies by the supply of specific material. In this sense, the University Hospital will permit to future doctors to be familiarised with the use of this technology and a large number of patients hit by cancer will be treated more efficiently.

  • Construction of a motorway interchange to improve the accessibility to West Thessaloniki by road: EU contribution EUR 85.340.000

    The project aims to construct an interchange in West Thessaloniki at the junction of the Patras-Athens-Thessaloniki-Evzoni (P.A.TH.E) motorway with the internal ring of the city. This major project is part of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). The construction of this interchange is imperative in preventing the delays during rush hours in the west road and the rail entrance to Thessaloniki, and moreover the car accidents. The target population for this intervention are permanent (daily) users of the P.A.TH.E. motorway, occasional users who reside in the suburbs or areas directly affected by or neighbouring the project and transit users of the internal ring road of Thessaloniki.


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