Olympic Games 2004: five major projects for Athens
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Integration of Athens cultural sites
   
   


Jacques Barrot

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EDITORIAL

Olympic Games 2004

The European Union and Greece
Partners for sustainable development

By organising the Olympic Games, Greece has taken on a considerable challenge, forming part of the still greater aim of boosting the modernisation of the country, in particular of its capital.

The European Union and its solidarity instruments, the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund in particular, will help Greece to achieve this aim. While helping development throughout Greece, European support has contributed to a genuine metamorphosis of the city of Athens, guaranteeing a better quality of life for its inhabitants.

European funds were not aimed at financing sports facilities, but at improving their accessibility. The major projects completed have created a large amount of infrastructure for the years to come, considerably improving city transport and enhancing cultural assets. Projects included: building, extending and improving the metro system, a tramway that opens the city out towards the sea, a motorway and slip roads to facilitate access to the international airport, and a network of footpaths to link archaeological sites. These changes, which should contribute to the success of the XXVIIIth Olympics, will present a new image of Athens to millions of visitors and spectators around the world.
I believe it is important to tell you about these changes. That is the aim of this leaflet. But I would also like to remind you that EU cohesion policy has already promoted many other successes in Greece. I would like to invite you to take a look at them on this CD-ROM

Jacques Barrot,
European Commissioner for regional policy

 
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Christos Folias

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Greece promises the most successful organisation of the Olympic Games

If the choice of Athens for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 was a symbolic recognition of the contribution made by Hellenism to western culture, entrusting it with the 2004 Olympic Games was - and is - a huge challenge to contribute to this new century, this new era, this newly emerging Europe. It is the gamble of modern Hellenism in the face of our history, our tradition and our heritage. But it is also the bridge between our past and our future. And this is precisely why we have no choice but to succeed.

However, we have to admit that we would not have been able to set our sights so high without the generous financial support from Europe, chiefly for major transport infrastructure work and the functional reconstruction and aesthetic upgrading of Athens.

Faced with the great challenge of the Olympic Games, Greece is giving the best of itself so that millions of visitors may enjoy our city of Athens, which henceforth bears the stamp of Europe.

We are convinced that the modern and dynamic face that Greece will show during the Olympic Games will fully justify the help of our partners and will be identified in the mind of international public opinion with both success in large-scale undertakings and the prospect of a better future.

Khristos Folias
Under-Minister for Economy and Finance

 
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ATHENS METRO

The metro is the single greatest factor helping improve the quality of life in Athens, and it manages to combine the business of travel with the pleasure of rediscovering long-buried cultural treasures. The lines already finished in 2001 (the red: Dafni to Sepolia, and the blue: Ministry of Defence to Monastiraki), together with the modernization of the green line (Kifissia to Piraeus), have significantly reduced traffic congestion and air pollution. The current programme of extensions (which, like the earlier lines, are part-financed by the European Community’s Structural Funds: and the Cohesion Fund) will bring the metro to the heavily populated western suburbs of Peristeri and Aigaleo, to the eastern suburbs of Xolargos and Agia Paraskevi and the new Eleftherios Venizelos airport, and to the south, as far as the old airport redevelopment site at Hellinikon. Each line will have at least three transfer points to the other lines and will be connected to the new tramway system and the suburban railway. When the extensions are completed all major population centres of the Athens conurbation will have metro connections with the business, shopping, leisure and sports areas of the centre and the Saronikos bay, as well as with the port and airport.

A direct metro link between the airport and the city centre, where transfer to all other metro lines is already possible, is scheduled to be operational on 15 July, ready to serve the millions of visitors expected for the Athens Olympic Games in August 2004.

  • Estimated eligible cost: 1,600 million euro

  • EU funding: 900 million euro

  • Organisation responsible: Attiko Metro AE - Website

 
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ATTIKI HIGHWAY

By reducing congestion and journey times, cutting pollution and bringing down traffic casualties the 60 kms long external ring of Athens toll highway, called “Attiki Odos�, gives to commuters and drivers in Athens what they have been crying out for since the 60s. It brings together an ingenious combination of local resources, grants from the European Community’s Structural Funds and loans and guarantees from the European Investment Bank. It acts as an outer ring road from the new Eleftherios Venizelos airport to Eleusina in the west via the northern and north-eastern suburbs. In Eleusina it connects to the western highway for Korinthos and Patras. By way of a flyover near Kifissia it gives access to the Athens – Thessaloniki highway and to the avenue leading to Piraeus. And the Ymittos branch has links with the Athens inner ring and the eastern and south-eastern suburbs.

  • Estimated eligible cost: 950 million euro

  • EU funding: 475 million euro

  • Organisation responsible: Attiki Odos AE - Website
 
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ATHENS TRAMWAY

Regular visitors to Athens are amazed by the improvement in the quality of life and, particular of the air, brought about by the modernisation of the city’s public transport, achieved thanks to hefty part-financing from the European Community’s Structural Funds: The tramway system is part of this. It is planned to run from the centre (Syntagma, with a connection to the metro) to the coastal boulevard via the densely populated areas of Nea Smyrni, Amfithea and Paleo Faliron. This line will connect with another tramway link between Neo Faliron and Glyfada along the coast, which has also been brought forward to: serve the Olympic sites of Faliron, Agios Kosmas and Hellinikon. Ultimately the tramway system will extend both to Piraeus and to the northern part of the city.

  • Estimated eligible cost: 350 million euro

  • EU funding: 175 million euro

  • Organisation responsible: TRAM AE - Website

 
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ATHENS SUBURBAN RAILWAY

The Attica suburban railway network is an integral part of the upgrading and extension of the Greek railways, part-financed by the European Community’s Structural Funds and intended to connect all major urban centres around Athens and large parts of the countryside. One major effect will be to bring the Eleftherios Venizelos airport and the harbour of Piraeus within easy reach of the inhabitants of Athens and the Attiki region. In modernising their public transport, the Greek authorities have taken care to integrate the various elements. Thus, like the tramway, the modernised suburban railway will be linked to the metro, with the blue line of which it will even share 20 kms of track up to Athens Airport. Elsewhere there will be transfer points to both the red and the green lines of the Athens Metro. Future extensions of the suburban railway to the south-eastern Attica and east of the airport are being considered.

The suburban railway link between Athens Airport and the Olympic Stadium in Maroussi is scheduled to be put in service in July, on time for the Olympic Games.

  • Estimated eligible cost: 640 million euro

  • EU funding: 320 million euro

  • Organisation responsible: ERGA OSE AE - Website

 
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INTEGRATION OF ATHENS CULTURAL SITES

People who follow the pedestrian walkways from the beautiful marble stadium which was built for the Olympic Games in 1896 via the buzzing nightclub and restaurant area to the industrial heritage site of Gazi (the old gasworks) are astounded at the range of history it covers. Part-financed by the European Community’s Structural Funds, the walks include the ancient Roman agora, the Philopappos hill, the Acropolis itself, the Areopagus mound, the Keramikos archeological site, the Herodes Atticus theatre and Hadrian’s Library. The project aims to create a whole network of cultural walks to encompass the principal archaeological monuments and green spaces. It will contribute to the city’s historical continuity and do much to enhance the tourist experience for visitors and the quality of life in an environmentally friendly, cultural way.

  • Estimated eligible cost: the combined cost of all individual projects will be established ex post.

  • EU contribution: 75%

  • Organisation responsible: Ministry of Culture - Website
 
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