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Cohesion Fund

One of the basic EU objectives is to strengthen the economic and social cohesion of Member States in order to lessen developmental disparities among European regions and to help the more disadvantaged areas of the Union catch up with their more prosperous neighbors.


The Cohesion Fund was formally established by Regulation (EC) 1164/94 of the European Council on May 14, 1994. The Regulation states that the activities of the Cohesion Fund will complement those of the Structural Funds, the European Investment Bank and other funding instruments in assisting the less affluent among the Member States.


The Cohesion Fund provides financial support for projects in the sectors of environment and transport. The projects are linked to a visible strategy and form a cohesive whole, contributing to the attainment of the goals set by the European Treaty.



Cohesion Fund Projects 1994-1999


During the period 1994-1999, Cohesion Fund co-financing was approved for 174 projects (129 environmental projects, 44 transport projects and 1 project of technical assistance).


Of these, 16 environmental projects and 6 transport projects received supplementary funding from the Cohesion Fund for the period 2000-2006 (bridge projects) and are currently implemented according to programming period 2000 – 2006 rules.


For the other 152 projects (113 environmental projects, 38 transport projects and 1 project of technical assistance) for the period 1994-1999, the situation is as follows:


ENVIRONMENT (113 projects)

n        87 projects have been fully paid for by the European Commission,

n        25 projects are now at the closure stage, and

n        1 project is still under way.


TRANSPORT (38 projects)

n        25 projects have been fully paid for by the European Commission,

n        12 projects are now at the closure stage, and

n        1 project is still under way.



n        the project is now at the closure stage.



Cohesion Fund Projects 2000-2006


The complementarity among Cohesion Fund projects and the strategic action plan that these projects are integrated into are stated in the approved text of the Community Support Framework and in:


n        the Operational Programme "Road Axes, Ports and Urban Development" (OP RAPUD),

n        the Operational Programme "Railways, Airports, Public Transport" (OP RAPT) and

n        the Operational Programme "Environment" (OP ENV).


The strategic action plans represented in the above Operational Programmes include a CF project pipeline, presenting synergy and complementarity with the corresponding interventions in the Operational Programmes themselves.


These projects are the fruit of partnership consultation with the agencies responsible for transport and environment policy and were approved by the European Commission together with the Operational Programmes. Funding is also to be made available for non-named environmental projects of local significance, which are determined during the programming period through open calls for tenders.


During the period 2000 - 2006, resources available to the country amount to 3,060 million euro (in 1999 values) which are expected to be worth about 3,300 million euro after accounting for inflation.


Implementation progress


Up to the first semester of 2004, funding had been approved by the European Commission for 75 new projects and additional resources had been released for 22 bridge projects from the 1994 –1999 period.


Up to December 31, 2004, total expenditure on these 97 projects amounted to 1,392.1 million euro, with an absorption rate of 43%, as shown in Table 1.


At the end of 2004, 17 new approval decisions were issued (15 environmental projects, 2 transport projects) of a total budget of €1,166,890,523 with a community participation of €709,046,513.


Through these projects the Commission covered the total Community Participation for the period 2000 - 2006.



Community Budget Commitments


Financial obligations (commitments) are made in the Community budget on an annual basis, as follows:


n        With the approval of new projects by the Commission an initial commitment is made in the Community budget.

n        For multiannual approved projects, annual commitments are made on the basis of their financing table, provided that the implementation timetables are adhered to.

n        For approved projects under the stage of completion, a commitment for the remaining 10% or 20% of the Community contribution is made.


Commitments made in the Community budget for the period 2000 – 2003 to meet the country’s obligations amount to 2,302.50 million euro, or 69.7% of the estimated Community contribution for the period.


The country’s obligations for the years 2005 and 2006 amount to 970.37 million euro approximately.

The corresponding commitment obligations under the Community budget for the years 2005 and 2006 will be covered by the commitments remaining from the projects already approved.


Actions for Trans-European Networks


The purpose of the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) is to shift the balance among the various means of transport, to relieve and combat congestion, and to make quality and safety the centre of common transport policy.


The statutory framework governing trans-European transport networks consists of Regulation (ΕC)2236/95, which lays down general rules for granting Community financial aid in the field of trans-European networks, as amended by Regs. (EC) 1655/99 & 807/04, and of Decision (ΕC) 1692/96, with Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network, as amended by Decisions 1346/01 & 884/04.


The networks include actions aligned with the goals laid down in the White Paper and its maps (guidelines) and involve roads, rail, ports and airport networks. Thus the TEN-T plans cover, inter alia, networks of internal waterways and ports for internal navigation, sea ports, airports, combined transport networks, management and information networks for shipping, air traffic management networks, signal location and navigation networks and combined transport and traffic management.


Special line Β5-700 of the Community budget makes resources available for co-financing actions falling within the guidelines of the trans-European transport networks. These actions are divided into the following categories:


n        Actions within the Multiannual Indicative Programme for the period 2001- 2006

The Multiannual Indicative Programme includes for Greece 5 actions (studies) for the Egnatia Highway and for the railway network, of a total budget of 93 million euro, and a Community contribution of 46.5 million euro.


n        Common interest actions

For the period 2000-2006, 9 actions (studies) have been approved for Greece and are now under way. Their total budget is 25.26 million euro, and the Community contribution is 10.73 million euro.