17 January, 2006
Greece and Italy on Monday decided to join forces and jointly submit a specific plan of actions to the European Union for the exploitation of their small islands, aimed at placing the islands in a developmental orbit with EU funding. The decision was taken during a meeting in Athens between Greece's Minister for the Aegean Aristotelis Pavlidis and Italy's Regional Development minister Enrico La Loggia.
The meeting was held in the framework of initiatives undertaken by the Greek side for the establishment of an "island" designation as an individual criterion in the planning of funding under the EU Actions in the bloc's regional development programs.
Under the new provisions of the European Constitution, Pavlidis said, the idea has ripened for the provision of services to island inhabitants, and thus it was considered important to draft specific positions determining the EU's obligations regarding the small islands.
It was decided to set up a joint ad hoc committee for this purpose, which as early as February would begin to look into the issue and begin preparing specific proposals to be submitted to the EU.
Pavlidis expressed hope other member states concerned would join this bilateral Greek-Italian cooperation in the immediate future.
La Loggia said after the meeting that he was very satisfied with the cooperation between Greece and Italy on this matter, which he noted was taking place for the first time.
He said the Italian side also considered it very important to achieve better utilization of EU funds by 2013, as this would contribute to the development of the small islands but also to the solution of fundamental matters such as healthcare, via tele-medicine, waste management, etc.
Source: Athens News Agency