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Greek PM Pledges Relief Measures for Island Communities

Lesvos. Photo © Roy Pedersen / Shutterstock

Lesvos. Photo © Roy Pedersen / Shutterstock

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pledged to upgrade infrastructure, redesign coastal shipping, enhance transportation, support agriculture and local production, and boost local entrepreneurship in efforts to improve the standard of living on Greek island communities.

On a visit to the remote island of Nisyros, Tsipras announced a comprehensive list of relief and aid measures for the Greek isles, particularly those affected by the flows of refugees from neighboring Turkey. The prime minister said the North Aegean Region islands and the Dodecanese will not be subject to a VAT increase applicable for the rest of the country.

Other priorities include a makeover of the coastal shipping and transport network to ensure improved access to the islands through the establishment of a special committee that will oversee the design of a combined transport network including air and ferry routes as well as launching waterways for the first time in the Aegean next year.

With regards to tourism, Tsipras announced the creation of coastal parks as well as the promotion of thermal springs and religious tourism. He added that additional staff would be hired to man archaeological sites all year round. The Greek PM also referred to EU funding programs aimed at boosting local entrepreneurship, ensuring liquidity to small- and medium-sized enterprises, financing environmental protection activities, harbor works and basic infrastructure, drought response projects, as well as plans to offer remote island communities free or subsidized Internet access.

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Other areas covered include education and health with the recruitment of  additional staff, as well as the creation of sports facilities on the islands.

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