By Lefteris Yallouros – Athens
Piraeus is to be named Europe’s maritime capital for 2015, European Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki revealed this week.
On July 1, the Council of European Union announced the cities that will host European Maritime Day (EMD) every year until 2019.
In 2015, EMD will be hosted in Greece, in the city of Piraeus, transferring in that way “two and a half thousand years of maritime history in the heart of the Eastern Mediterranean,” as announced by the EU Commission.
Damanaki met with PASOK leader and Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos in Athens and informed him of the news.
With the opportunity of the decision’s announcement, the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, stated: “This is an important date for EU Maritime policy. The selection of hosting cities mirrors the diversity of Europe’s maritime environment.”
She continued: “I thank Member States for their support and trust, and hope that European Maritime Days will continue to be a symbol of the successful development of the Integrated Maritime Policy for many years to come.”
Venizelos said that Greece plans to make maritime affairs one of the key issues of its six-month EU presidency, which begins in January.
Commission approves €114 million aid for extension of Greek Piraeus port
The European Commission has found a €113.9 million Greek support for an infrastructure project of €120 million at the Port of Piraeus to be in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the project will further the objectives of EU transport policy and cohesion without unduly distorting competition in the internal market.
In September 2012 Greece notified plans to support an investment project by OLP, the port authority, to extend existing infrastructure for cruise ships at the Port of Piraeus by 2 docking stations. The project is co-financed with €96.9 million from EU Structural Funds.
The project will improve the exploitation of cruise services at the Port of Piraeus and support regional development by creating jobs and boosting economic activity through the passengers, crews and companies that it will attract.