Electricity

Greece earmarks EUR 50 million for small business transition in lignite regions

Greece directs EUR 50 million for small business transition in lignite regions

Photo: PPC on Flickr

Published

May 15, 2024

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Published:

May 15, 2024

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Western Macedonia and Megalopolis are the two traditional coal regions of Greece. The government is working to change their economic model in a transition towards greener energy sources.

Thousands of employees in coal production and thermal power plants in lignite regions will have to turn to other activities and retrain, while there are also many issues concerning the use of former lignite mines and territorial redevelopment.

To this end, 840 proposals were recently submitted for the municipalities in the region of Western Macedonia in northern Greece as well as  for Megalopolis, Oihalia, Gortynia and Tripoli in the Peloponnese, to prop up entrepreneurship under so-called just transition territorial plans.

New investments targeting new green and digital skills

Public funds amounting to EUR 50 million will be directed to small and micro businesses to help them grow. According to Deputy Minister Economy and Finance Nikos Papathanasis, new jobs will be created. The investments target new green and digital skills, he added.

It is one of four public programs for support to small and medium-sized enterprises. Valued at EUR 330 million in total, they are backed by the European Union’s Just Transition Fund.

Of note, the municipality of Eordaia in Western Macedonia recently joined the Low–Carbon SME Development and Transition (COMMIT) scheme under Interreg Europe. The goal is to promote the transition of small businesses toward lower carbon emissions.

Refurbishments underway in public buildings

There are also numerous energy refurbishment projects taking place across lignite regions. The buildings of the Western Macedonia University are planned to be upgraded using European funds, while renovations of three hospitals and 26 health centers are underway.

Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis is scheduled to visit Western Macedonia in the next few days as part of his campaign ahead of the European elections. He is expected to hold meetings with local bodies and municipalities on just transition efforts and funding.

Several countries in the region that Balkan Green Energy News covers significantly depend on coal power. EU member states in Southeastern Europe are benefitting from joint funds.

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