G. Patoulis: “Sustainable development issues, improvement of the EU funds’ absorption rate and search for financial tools to make our Attica an exemplary region in the Health and Wellbeing sector are on top of our priorities”

Led by the Regional Governor of Attica and Vice President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Mr G. Patoulis, the Greek Delegation held a series of fruitful meetings with senior European Commission officials, including Vice President Dubravka Šuica, at the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels.

The topics discussed at the meetings were related to Sustainable Development with an emphasis on the use of alternative forms of energy for the benefit of the environment and the citizens, the need to foster entrepreneurship as a pillar of  growth of national economy, the improvement of the EU funds’ absorption rate that would allow local development, as well as the objectives of the European Green Deal endorsed by the European Commission, with a view to its adoption by the European Parliament and the European Council.

The European Green Deal is a new growth strategy that supports the European Union’s transition to a fair and prosperous society responding to the challenges posed by climate change and environmental degradation, by improving the quality of life for both the present and the future generations.

During the meetings, Mr Patoulis particularly focused on environmental issues, stressing that Greece still lags behind in this field, especially on issues related to solid waste management. Referring to the new strategic plan drawn up by the Region of Attica to tackle waste management effectively, with an emphasis on recycling, he said that his priority is the transition of Attica to a “Green” Region utilising alternative forms of energy and thus offering a better, healthier life to its citizens.

Mr G. Patoulis especially emphasized on the need to increase the absorption of European funds and seek financial tools to launch infrastructure and growth projects.

“Attica ranks fifth on the list of the European Regions’ absorbency of EU funds, however well coordinated work enabled us to rise to the fourth position in just a few months. My ambition for Attica is to become first in EU funds’ absorbency, with the aim of finally positioning our Region on a sustained growth path,” stated Mr Patoulis.

Commenting on the growth prospects of the regions, Mr Patoulis underlined the importance of decentralization by granting resources and competences to the LRAs, through growth-oriented reforms.

In the context of the meetings, Mr. Patoulis emphasized the following:

“At those highly productive and fruitful meetings we had with senior European Commission officials, we highlighted the priority we attach to issues such as the European funds absorption and the launching of the projects required for the Development of our Attica. There is no more time to waste. Greece’s greatest region finally attempts an ambitious relaunchin accordance with the European standards. The Region of Attica is about to turn a new page that will provide a healthy environment to its citizens, through sustainable growth strategy, planning and vision.

On the sidelines of the meetings, Mr Patoulis also met with Frederick Vallier, Secretary General of the European Council of Municipalities and Regions, where he had the opportunity to discuss issues related to the contribution of the Regions to the growth revival of local communities as well as the prospects opened up by cross-border partnerships.