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REGION OF THE WEEK:

East Macedonia and Thrace

(12 June 2013)

East Macedonia and Thrace

Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn will pay a visit to Greece on 12-13 June to take stock of the regional policy project implementations in the country and of the preparations for the next programming period 2014-2020. He will in particular visit the East Macedonia & Thrace region where he will meet Mr Aristidis Giannakidis, Governor of the region and visit EU funded projects.

The EU investments in the region relate to transport infrastructure, environment, urban development, culture, entrepreneurship and digital convergence, social infrastructure, health, social care and education.

For the 2007-2013 period, East Macedonia & Thrace together with West and Central Macedonia has been allocated EUR 2.675 billion EU financing with the Regional Policy Programme "Macedonia & Thrace", total public allocation being EUR 3.147 billion. In particular for the East Macedonia & Thrace region EU-funding amounts to EUR 480 million, total public allocation being EUR 564.7 million.

East Macedonia & Thrace occupies the north-eastern part of Greece and has frontiers with Bulgaria and Turkey. With an area of 14,157 km2 (10.7 % of GR) and a population of around 606.004 (5.35 % of GR), the region had in 2012 a GDP per capita of 66 % of the EU average. The region has been seriously hit by the economic crisis with and unemployment rate of 22.5% while youth unemployment has attained 52.6 %.

 

What are the region's priorities and how does EU regional policy contribute?

For 2007-2013, around EUR 216 million out of the bulk of the EU regional funding aim to be used for interventions relating to quality of life and sustainable development. In the area of social infrastructure, projects such as the supply of 14 ambulances, the construction of elderly care centers, day care nurseries or the upgrade of school infrastructures were funded. As regards protection of the environment, two solid waste management plants are planned to be constructed.

In the area of infrastructure works & accessibility, important projects are ongoing, improving the connectivity of the region. Some of them are part of the Transeuropean Transport Network. The regional network was upgraded, the multi-modal transport plan was developed for the port of Alexandroupolis and the access to public spaces was improved. In parallel, mainly after the last revision of the programme in 2012, interventions in the area of entrepreneurship are being strengthened.


Project examples

Vertical axis of Egnatia road Komotini-Bulgaria: EU contribution EUR 58,352,506

The vertical axis Egnatia road links Komotini in Greece with the Bulgarian border station Macaza in Bulgaria. It is part of the Transeuropean transport network and is inscribed in the national policy on road infrastructures especially in the field of cross-border connections. It is one of the 181 priority projects agreed between the Commission and the Greek authorities in October 2011 that have to be implemented in priority since they are of major significance for the country’s development, have high impact on Greek economy and enhance job creation & employment.

Athena Research and Innovation Center in Xanthi : EU contribution EUR 445,825

The Athena Research and Innovation Centre in Information, Communication and Knowledge Technologies promotes innovative information, communication and knowledge technologies in the industrial and services sectors. The centre develops scientific and technological research in the sectors of information technology, knowledge, communication and automating production processes. The implementation and exploitation of results aims at the production of laboratory prototypes, products and services. The project concerns the infrastructure of the new building comprising Congress/Conference Centre.

Alexandroupoli port : EU contribution EUR 16,067,186

The port of Alexandroupolis holds a leading geographical position and constitutes the basic connecting point between EU countries and the Mediterranean and Black Sea countries. Given the increasing density of maritime traffic in the enclosed Black Sea, the port of Alexandroupolis could be an alternative route bypassing the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles and will create employment and development. Two projects in the have been EU-funded: the railway connection of the new pier loading containers with EUR 2,759,100 and the deepening of the basin and enlargement of the port with EUR 13,308,086

 

More information:

Managing Authority for East Macedonia-Thrace