A significant part of the road building program submitted for EU funding by the Infrastructure ministry will not be funded by the union’s Recovery Fund, officials say.
Kathimerini understands that Greece is not a unique case; many countries have been told that their proposals do not meet funding criteria because, in essence, they are state subsidies in disguise.
The proposals with the chance to be funded are those that enable other actions, besides road building. For example, the northern portion of the E 65 highway linking central Greece with the east-west Egnatia highway in the north will get funding because it will help northwest Greece to diversify its economy and get over its dependence on production of electricity from highly polluting lignite, a method which costs a lot in penalties and which the government wants to phase out. Likewise, the east-west highway in northern Greece will be funded because it will replace a dangerous road where many traffic accidents occur. The same purpose – fewer accidents – will be served by an upgrade in the country’s countryside road network. But even this faces tough negotiations before approval.
The northern part of E65, a 70.5-kilometer section of the road, has a budget of €442 million and the northern Crete highway project will cost €1.5 billion, of which €800 million will be contributed by the state, including €200 million from the Recovery Fund.
The upgrade of the secondary road network will cost €700 million, of which €500 million will be contributed by the Recovery Fund and the other €200 million from the European Investment Bank.
The projects that will not be funded by the EU include the highway linking Egnatia to the Kakavia border crossing with Albania, the extension of Kimis Avenue, which will help decongest the Attiki Odos road around northern Athens, a road bypassing the city of Hlkida and a tunnel connecting the port of Perama, near Athens, with the island of Salamina.
The government and the EU are also in negotiations to fund an upgrade of the country’s railroad network. This involves upgrading the existing main route rathe than extending the network.