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Operational Programme 'Thessalia - Sterea Ellada - Ipiros'

Programme under the Convergence and Regional Competitiveness and Employment objectives co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

On 26 October 2007, the European Commission approved an Operational Programme for Greece for the period 2007-13. The Operational Programme “Thessalia – Sterea Ellada – Ipiros” involves Community support for 3 NUTS II regions in central Greece: Thessaly, Continental Greece, and Epirus.
The Operational Programme falls within the framework laid out for the Convergence and Regional Competitiveness and Employment objectives and has a total budget of around € 1 473 billion. Community assistance through the ERDF amounts to around € 1.1 billion, which represents approximately 5.6% of the total EU money invested in Greece under the Cohesion Policy for 2007-13.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

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The three regions covered by the Operational Programme “Thessalia – Sterea Ellada – Ipiros” show strong disparities in income, types of economic activity and geography and also the degree of accessibility. Nonetheless they do share challenges and risks in terms of:

  • the predominance of the primary sector in the regional economies;
  • rising pressures from domestic and international competition on the manufacturing sector;
  • insufficient flexibility within the labour market;
  • inadequate skills on the part of entrepreneurial actors and the labour force generally;
  • a declining population.

The major financial efforts in public investment undertaken in 2007-13 aim to:

  • improve the competitiveness, extroversion, quality and innovative nature of enterprises;
  • extend and upgrade intraregional and trans-regional infrastructures;
  • improve human capital;
  • rationalise environmental protection and the management of natural resources;
  • strengthen intraregional economic cohesion;
  • utilise tourism and culture for viable growth;
  • promote digital convergence and entrepreneurship.

2. Expected impact of the investments

The programme's various actions will ensure the creation of approximately 2 800 new jobs. Over 200 km of roads and 14 km of railway lines will be built, renovated and upgraded, while investment in renewable energy will save the equivalent of 45 000 tons of oil per year. The landscape at 61 landfill sites will be restored and three solid waste treatment plants built. Additionally, over 15 000 pupils will benefit from entirely new or modernised education infrastructures. The population of the three regions will also benefit from 14 new healthcare facilities in what constitutes a strategic strengthening of primary healthcare in Greece.

3. Priority axes

The Operational Programme is structured along three thematic objectives: accessible infrastructures and services, sustainable development and quality of life, and digital convergence and entrepreneurship. Three sets of thematic priority axes are being designed for each of the three regions covered by the programme in relation to each objective. A fourth priority axis contains the technical assistance budget for implementation of the thematic objectives in each of the three regions.

The Operational Programme “Thessalia – Sterea Ellada – Ipiros” is structured along the following priority axes:

Priority axis 1: accessible infrastructures and services in Thessaly [approximately 9.0% of total funding]

The main objective is to bridge the regional gap in terms of accessible infrastructures through:

  • completion and upgrading of the intraregional and trans-regional road and rail network;
  • improvements to port infrastructures;
  • amelioration of traffic infrastructures in urban and tourist centres;
  • transition over to multi-modal transport.

Priority axis 2: accessible infrastructures and services in Continental Greece [approximately 5.6% of total funding]

This priority is designed to homogenise the region's economic space and remove disparities between the easily accessible areas in the east and highly inaccessible areas in the west through the completion, upgrading and expansion of road, port and airport infrastructures. It will also enhance the area’s appeal to residents and tourists alike by modernising urban transport and urban planning as well as energy generation and distribution infrastructures.

Priority axis 3: accessible infrastructures and services in Epirus [approximately 6.8% of total funding]

The main ambition of this priority is to improve access to the region's infrastructures and services. This will strengthen the region's economic competitiveness and citizens' quality of life through the completion and/or extension of safer national, regional and local roads, urban and multi-modal transport as well as bikeways and airports.

Priority axis 4: sustainable growth and quality of life in Thessaly [approximately 20.8% of funding]

Specific objectives within this priority axis include the promotion of:

  • protection of, improvements to and the sustainable use of the natural and man-made environment;
  • sustainable development of culture;
  • links to tourism, health and social welfare infrastructures;
  • development of human resources.

Priority axis 5: sustainable growth and quality of life in Continental Greece [approximately 12.5% of total funding]

This priority is designed to safeguard the quality of the natural and man-made environment for the benefit of sustainable development. This can be achieved through investments in:

  • renewable energies and energy management measures;
  • rational management of underground water and solid, liquid and hazardous waste;
  • protection, promotion and restoration of forested areas.

The priority will also fund country heritage and spatial planning for tourist purposes, innovative theme parks and regional museums, urban renewal projects, plus the modernisation of primary and secondary healthcare facilities as well as education infrastructures.

Priority axis 6: sustainable growth and quality of life in Epirus [approximately 14.6% of total funding]

The main objective of this priority is to contribute to development ensuring economic sustainability, social justice and environmental protection. The priority axis will fund education and research infrastructures, public healthcare facilities, waste management, landscape restoration, water resources management, urban renewal, tourism development and cultural infrastructures.

Priority axis 7: digital convergence and entrepreneurship in Thessaly [approximately 7.8% of total funding]

The priority is designed to improve the competitiveness of products and services from Thessaly and increase the overall productivity of Thessaly's economy courtesy of information and communication technology (ICT). Funding will be provided for, inter alia:

  • technology and know-how transfers to enterprises;
  • quality management systems for Thessaly exports;
  • private investment in manufacturing and tourism;
  • dynamic branches in retail and bulk business;
  • innovative actions to improve the competitiveness of SMEs;
  • development and use of digital content with local value added;
  • support for innovative business plans in the ICT sector.

Priority axis 8: digital convergence and entrepreneurship in Continental Greece [approximately 14.8% of total funding]

The priority will support the integration of innovation, research and technology in the region's productive sector. It will fund integrated business plans for the support of productive investments, including:

  • enterprise networking;
  • business angels and mentoring;
  • RTD support and the exploitation of research results;
  • modernisation of the tourism sector;
  • development of digital services for enterprises.

Priority axis 9: digital convergence and entrepreneurship in Epirus [approximately 6.5% of total funding]

The priority is designed to improve the region's capacity for delivering innovative products and services and also to support the business environment and use of ICT.

Priority axis 10: technical assistance in the Thessaly region [approximately 0.7% of total funding]

The priority will focus on supporting the timely delivery of projects in the Thessaly region.

Priority axis 11: technical assistance in Continental Greece [approximately 0.4% of total funding]

The priority is designed to support beneficiaries and services involved in the preparation, implementation, monitoring, control, evaluation and disclosure of co-funded regional actions in Continental Greece.

Priority axis 12: technical assistance in the Epirus region [approximately 0.6% of total funding]

The priority will support the implementation of priority axes 3 (accessible infrastructures and services in Epirus), 6 (sustainable growth and quality of life in Epirus) and 9 (digital convergence and entrepreneurship in Epirus).

4. Managing Authority

Special Managing Service of the Regional Operational Programmes
Nikis 5-7
EL-101 80 Athens
Tel.: +30210 3332574
Fax.: +30210 3332731
E-mail.: glogothetis@mnec.gr
Ministry of Development and Competitiveness
Νίκης 5-7
EL-101 80 Αθήνα
Secretary General of Public Investment (NSRF)
Georg, YANNOUSSIS
Tel.: + 30 210 333 20 00
Web: Ministry for Development, Competitiveness & Shipping

Financial and Technical information

Title : Operational Programme 'Thessalia - Sterea Ellada - Ipiros'

Intervention Type : Operational Programme

CCI no : 2007GR16UPO001

Number of decision : C/2007/5332 final

Final approval date : 2007-10-26

Breakdown of finances by priority axis
Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Accessible infrastructures and services in Thessaly 99 435 000 24 569 029 124 004 029
Accessible infrastructures and services in Continental Greece 61 600 700 40 625 300 102 226 000
Accessible infrastructures and services in Epirus 75 570 000 30 783 810 106 353 810
Sustainable growth and quality of life in Thessaly 229 530 000 56 713 726 286 243 726
Sustainable growth and quality of life in Continental Greece 138 141 600 74 220 400 212 362 000
Sustainable growth and quality of life in Epirus 161 620 000 43 223 492 204 843 492
Digital convergence and entrepreneurship in Thessaly 85 890 000 21 222 245 107 112 245
Digital convergence and entrepreneurship in Continental Greece 163 201 360 36 898 440 200 099 800
Digital convergence and entrepreneurship in Epirus 71 510 000 27 592 698 99 102 698
Technical assistance in the region of Thessaly 8 145 000 3 490 714 11 635 714
Technical assistance in the region of Continental Greece 4 056 340 6 255 860 10 312 200
Technical assistance in the region of Epirus 6 300 000 3 400 000 9 700 000
Total 1 105 000 000 368 995 714 1 473 995 714
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