Operational Programme 'Environment and Sustainable Development'

Programme under the Convergence objective, co-funded by ERDF and Cohesion Fund


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On 5 November 2007, the European Commission approved the operational programme "Environment and Sustainable Development" in Greece for the period 2007-2013. This programme involves Community support through the ERDF for eight Greek regions under the "Convergence" objective ("phasing out" regions are not included), and through the Cohesion Fund which intervenes all over the country including the "phasing out" and "phasing in" areas.

The total budget of the programme is EUR 2.250 million. The Community investment through the ERDF amounts to EUR 220 million and EUR 1.580 million through the Cohesion Fund.

1. Purpose and aim of the EU investment

Under the previous programming periods considerable amounts have been invested to cover the major environmental infrastructure needs in Greece. Despite that, a sizeable deficit remains. On the other hand, sustainable development presents opportunities to incorporate the environmental dimension in the design of different thematic policies in conformity with Community legislation.

The objective for 2007-2013 is not just the incorporation of the EU environmental law into national legislation, but the pursuit of a genuine convergence to the European environmental "acquis communautaire" in order to deal with the real needs concerning the environmental protection and the development of a model leading to sustainable development.

The principal environmental interventions in Greece for the period 2007-2013 relate to integrated solid waste management, a rational use of water resources, modern waste water facilities, protection of natural resources and the efficient tackling of environmental risks (e.g. desertification, droughts, fires and floods, marine pollution). It will contribute to economic growth through a more efficient use of resources, such as re-use, recycling and recovery of waste. The programme will support interventions which, in addition to the investments in the sectors of energy and transport to be covered by other national programmes, will contribute to combating climate change.

2. Expected impact of the investments

For example the expected impact in the field of solid waste infrastructure in the regions of intervention is that 100% of the population will be served, 100% of population will also be served by waste water treatment plans for B and C agglomerations in particular. In the field of sustainable transport 430.000 persons more will be served in Northern Greece, while it is expected that the greenhouse gases will be reduced to 0,003%. In the field of environmental risk prevention it is foreseen that anti-flood works will cover 539km of protected catchments areas while eight (8) fire brigade departments will be reinforced. In the field of biodiversity 50% of the Natura 2000 sites will be fully protected with the adequate management plans.

Finally the new programme will ensure the boost of the different environmental services in order to improve the efficiency of the public administration in implementing the environmental policy and will ensure the realisation of a series of awareness and awareness campaigns.

3. Priorities

Eleven priorities are defined in this programme. Five (5) of those fall under the Cohesion Fund and six (6) fall under the ERDF. In particular:


Priority 1: Air & rural transports, climate change, renewable energy sources (RES)

The strategic objective of this priority axis relates to energy saving, promotion of RES and support the autonomy and security supply of energy by the use of RES. In addition, it will promote sustainable transport infrastructures combating climate change.

Priority 2- Protection & management of water resources

The main objective of this priority is to protect effectively the quality of water discharges in line with the water waste directive (91/271) and to provide sufficient and quality water supply to big agglomerations and tourist areas including areas which face severe water problems due to lack of rainfall.

Priority 3 - prevention of environmental risks

This priority aims at supporting infrastructure for preventing and dealing with environmental risks especially in the field of anti-flood works.

Priority 4 - solid waste & protection of soil

The fundamental objective of this priority is to implement efficiently the Regional Solid Waste Management Plans (RSWMP) which foresees a mix of policy measures to reduce waste production, encourage reuse and recycling, and proceed with an integrated management of the biodegradable and safe disposal of the produced waste into landfills. It includes the expansion and completion of the Alternative Solid Waste Management Systems (SEDA) for paper, glass, aluminium, electronic equipment, end of life vehicles, etc., so as to meet the targets set by Community legislation. In addition, in synergy with the regional operational programmes, it is planned to reduce the quantities of the produced waste disposed in landfills and to encourage recycling and composting.

Priority 5- technical assistance

The objective is to provide support to the Managing Authority this programme and to the final beneficiaries in implementing efficiently the programme and the projects.


Priority 6 - Air and climate change

The objective of this priority is to protect the air pollution caused by gas emissions. This will be pursued by carrying out strategic studies and creating the necessary tools and mechanisms to implement effectively the national legislation. Measures aiming at systematic monitoring and recording of air quality are also programmed.

Priority 7 - Water resources management

The fundamental objective of this priority is to ensure the rational and sustainable management of water resources. This will be further pursued by fully implementing the water directive 60/2000. To this end, monitoring programmes, management plans per basin including measures to ensure an effective implementation and follow up are some of the necessary actions planned.

Priority 8 - prevention of environmental risks

The objective is to support and improve the efficiency of public administration in dealing with environmental risks through the set up of a fully developed civil protection network focusing on prevention which would provide the possibility for immediate reaction and prompt intervention. To meet this objective, mainly anti-flood works and anti-fire interventions including anti-earthquake actions are defined. Besides, particular attention will be paid in dealing with big technological accidents.

Priority 9 - Nature protection and biodiversity

The strategic objective of this priority axis is to protect nature and biodiversity. This will be pursued by protecting the biotopes, setting up and supporting the management bodies in charge of the protected areas and sites of environmental significance including the protection of birds.

Priority 10 - Institutions

The aim is to improve the administrative efficiency and capacity of the Ministry of Environment and other environmental bodies in charge in implementing and promoting the environmental policy. In addition, actions are foreseen to stimulate and encourage the participation of all actors, from business and citizens to NGOs and social partners, in ensuring the diffusion of environment information for the benefit of the citizen at large.

Priority 11 - Technical Assistance

The objective is to provide support to the Managing authority of this programme and to the final beneficiaries in implementing the programme and the projects.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Environment and Sustainable Development'

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
Protection of the Atmospheric Environment-Tackling of Climate Change-Renewable Resources of Energy 272 190 000 68 047 500 340 237 500
Protection and Management of Water resources 791 820 000 197 955 000 989 775 000
Prevention and Tackling of Environmental Risk 316 000 000 79 000 000 395 000 000
Protection of Soil Systems and Waste Management 179 380 000 44 845 000 224 225 000
Technical Assistance Cohesion Fund 20 610 000 5 152 500 25 762 500
Protection of Atmospheric Environment –Tackling Climate Change 18 400 000 4 600 000 23 000 000
Protection and management of Water Resources 16 000 000 4 000 000 20 000 000
Prevention and tackling of Environmental Risks 32 000 000 8 000 000 40 000 000
Protection of Natural Environment and Biodiversity 107 610 000 26 902 500 134 512 500
Institutions and mechanisms 41 990 000 10 497 500 52 487 500
Technical assistance of ERDF 4 000 000 1 000 000 5 000 000
Total 1 800 000 000 450 000 000 2 250 000 000