Operational Programme 'Greece - Cyprus'

Programme under the European Territorial Co-operation Objective, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)


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On 28 March 2008 the European Commission approved a Cross-border Co-operation Operational Programme between Greece and Cyprus for the period 2007-2013. The Programme involves Community support for the regions of Samos, Lesbos, Chios, Dodecanese, Heraklion, Lasithi, Rethymno and Chania in Greece, as well as the whole territory of Cyprus.

The total budget of the Programme is about €52 million, with Community assistance through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounting to some €42 million. This represents approximately 0.5% of the total EU investment earmarked for the European Territorial Co-operation Objective under the Cohesion Policy 2007-2013.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

The overall strategic goal of the Programme is to promote the Programme area as a hub of sustainable development in the wider South East Mediterranean.

The border region has a unique geographical position at the gate of the EU, however the insular character of the region runs the risk of further marginalisation of the islands. Transport infrastructure is poor and sea links with Trans-European Networks (TEN) need to be further developed. Economic growth is satisfactory, but there are inter and intra disparities in the region. The economy is based mainly on tourism, however there is an increasing demand for further development and alternative/thematic forms of tourism. The Programme area is characterised by a rich natural environment as well as historical and cultural assets. Insufficient water resources and unnecessary marine/environmental pollution are common issues in the region and need to be addressed.

2. Expected impact of investments

The investments are expected to result in improved competitiveness in the co-operation area, a better protected and more enhanced natural and cultural environment, a higher level of safety, and improved accessibility of networks and services. Current disparities in the area should be reduced, leading to stronger social and economic cohesion within the EU, as well as a stronger identity of the cross-border area.

3. Priorities

The Operational Programme is structured along the following priorities:

Priority 1: Competitiveness [approximately 31% of total funding]

This priority is aimed at strengthening the economic competitiveness of the Programme area by supporting entrepreneurship, research & technology and the development of human resources. Potential interventions include actions relating to:

  • entrepreneurship and tourism (improving the outward-looking orientation of enterprises and enterprise bodies, adopting new technologies, diversifying products and undertaking promotional activities);
  • research, technology and innovation (promoting and strengthening co-operation and actions between universities and research institutions); and
  • human capital (training for public and private sector staff, and collaboration between universities, including post-graduate courses and student exchanges).

Priority 2: Natural and Cultural Environment [approximately 27% of total funding]

This priority is aimed at environmental protection actions, risk management and the development of cultural values in the region. Interventions under this priority include joint actions to:

  • encourage the protection, enhancement and rational management of the natural environment; prevent, control and manage natural and technological risks (marine pollution, fire, earthquakes);
  • raise environmental awareness; and
  • promote networking actions.
  • Exploitation of the region's cultural heritage for tourism purposes and the promotion of thematic tourism (e.g. cultural routes) are actions aimed at enhancing the cultural environment. Renewable energy development projects as well as capacity building for staff in the public/private sector (education on risk management) also fall under this priority.

Priority 3: Accessibility and Regional Safety [approximately 36% of total funding]

This priority is aimed at increasing safety in the region, developing transport and communication systems, and facilitating capacity building. Interventions under this axis include actions for development of sea and air surveillance systems and improvement of safety at entry points, as part of efforts to prevent illegal migration, smuggling and trafficking.

The development of information and communication technologies (ICT) systems for transport as well as the provision of public access to information and communication networks should enhance accessibility in the Programme area. Training for the public and private sector, such as training on sea rescue and fire fighting equipment, also fall under this priority.

Priority 4: Technical Assistance [approximately 6% of total funding]

This priority includes actions to support the Programme’s implementation. It will provide overall assistance to the Programme for project preparation, programme management and implementation, programme publicity and evaluation.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Greece - Cyprus'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

CCI no


Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Competitiveness 12 940 000 3 235 000 16 175 000
Natural and Cultural Environment 11 300 000 2 825 000 14 125 000
Accessibility and Regional Safety 14 900 000 3 725 000 18 625 000
Technical Assistance 2 493 290 623 323 3 116 613
Total 41 633 290 10 408 323 52 041 613