Greek residents and visitors to the country enjoy improved transport infrastructure as a significant number of projects have been and are being implemented, many of which have received the decisive support of the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB is now extending its support to the south-western part of the country, with a loan facility up to EUR 200 million for the new Korinthos-Patras-Tsakona Peloponnesian motorway and the upgrading of the existing Elefsina-Korinthos motorway.
The Greek State, through the Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works, is promoting the project, which will be designed, financed, built, operated and maintained by OLYMPIA ODOS S.A., formerly known as Apion Kleos Motorway S.A., in a public-private partnership (PPP) with the Greek State. The consortium includes major European and Greek construction groups (Vinci S.A., HOCHTIEF PPP Solutions, AKTOR Concessions, J&P Avax S.A. and Athena S.A.). The motorway will improve access to/from the western and northern Peloponnese from/to the Athens Metropolitan area and the northern regions of Greece. Specifically, it is estimated that there will be an average reduction in journey times of 20% on the Korinthos-Patras section, 30% on the Patras-Pyrgos section and 40% on the Pyrgos-Tsakona section. The motorway will also directly benefit the economic development of the Greek provinces that it traverses, some of which were badly damaged last summer by extensive fires. It will also improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of the area, who are often cut-off from urban centres which provide administrative, economic and medical services.
The new motorway has been aligned following extensive public consultation. The chosen route has been approved according to national and EU environmental regulations, and further to Environmental Impact Assessment studies for all motorway sections. In the framework of its “Renewed Policy for Lending in the Transport Sector” (1), the EIB itself has studied the traffic pollution impact of the project (net carbon dioxide emissions), and its contribution to global warming has been found marginal. Quick access to fire-fighting units will be possible in case of need via the new motorway. Lastly, OLYMPIA ODOS will provide additional measures in the design, construction and operating phases of the project that will further enhance the environmental quality of the infrastructure.
Due to its importance for the economic development of the region (2) and the Union as a whole, the motorway is considered a priority trans-European transport (TEN) (3) investment, jointly supported by the European Commission and the EIB.
- The EIB adopted this policy in September 2007 in order to contribute to the transport sector while supporting EU objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 compared to 1990.
The south-western part of Greece is a region with average per capita income less than 75% of the EU’s average. The balancing out of regions is an EU priority for achieving social and economic cohesion and convergence. Investment in such areas, especially in transport and other vital economic infrastructure, is essential.
Trans-European Networks for Transport and Energy
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the bank promoting European objectives, was created by the Treaty of Rome along with other European Union institutions, and this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. The Bank’s priority objectives include:
- EU cohesion and convergence
- Support for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs)
- Environmental sustainability
- Transformation of the EU economy into a knowledge-based economy (Lisbon Agenda, Innovation 2010 Initiative (i2i))
- Trans-European Networks (TENs) for transport and energy
- Secure, sustainable and competitive energy supplies
In 2007, the EIB’s lending totalled EUR 47.8 billion, of which EUR 0.8 billion in Greece. Lending in Greece was for transport, SMEs and, for the first time ever in Greece, local authorities (Municipalities of Athens and Kozani).