box_t_l_c Regional Operational Programme box_t_r_c

PRIORITY AXIS 1: Promotion of Thessaloniki’s metropolitan role and encouragement of innovation and entrepreneurship



Total Cost


Public Expenditure


ERDF Contribution


National Public Expenditure


Private Participation



The metropolitan functions to be developed relate to processing, trade, transport, telecommunications, attraction of businesses, provision of modern administrative services, expansion of financial activities, quality of life in the conurbation and mainly in the deprived areas around the industrial zone, networking with the neighbouring cities of the Region. It is a coordinated action to use the Thessaloniki’s resources in order to promote the city to the status of an international centre of innovation and entrepreneurship, transit operations, trade, science and technology.

The principle objective is the development of the spirit of innovation in the Region and the cooperation - networking of the most dynamic, outward-looking and modernising elements of the metropolitan city’s business, research and education spheres, in order to promote specific sectors of specialization and excellence that constitute the image of the Region in the wider and international economic environment.

The reason behind this effort stems from the undisputable development potential of Thessaloniki and its special geopolitical position at the south-eastern boundary of the European Union and at the border between the Balkan and the Black Sea zone. The promotion of Thessaloniki as an international metropolitan centre is expected to reduce the weaknesses of the Region of Central Macedonia and give new momentum to the Region, through the development of modern functions and the mobilization of all the productive sectors in the conurbation. 

Priority Axis 1 consists of 6 Measures, which are the following:


Measure 1.1. Thessaloniki as the centre of productive services

Measure 1.1 accounts for 3.0% of the Public Expenditure of this priority axis. It aims to create and bolster areas of business activity in Thessaloniki, a fact that significantly contributes to the development and the international presence of the city. Concurrently with the improvement in the conditions of operation of already established activities, the capacity of specific areas to attract organizations and the head offices of businesses of international stature will also be improved. In this context, the measure provides for types of actions such as the creation of centres for the attraction of productive services, international organizations and the head offices of businesses in Thessaloniki: e.g. small industry parks, incubators, etc. Furthermore there are provisions for the regeneration of deprived areas in the wider region of Thessaloniki, where inactive or declining uses can be transformed into an ideal environment for business services and administration. Finally, the measure will bring about the improvement of the city’s central and regional districts by means of concentrated business activities, by virtue of the current legislation.

Measure 1.2. Research and development infrastructure

The strengthening of infrastructure for the development of basic research as well as research and technological development shall be implemented through Measure 1.2 of the Programme. This Measure accounts for 8.4% of the priority axis’ public expenditure. The Measure is intended for providing support in research and technology to the productive system of the Region of Central Macedonia, in synergy with the special objectives of the Competitiveness and Information Society Operational Programmes, with the objective to benefit from the development and dissemination of innovation and the utilization of highly skilled personnel. Furthermore, it aims to strengthen and complete new structures which will lead to the formation of high-technology clusters. The objective of the Measure is to increase the performance of R&D. The Measure will be implemented through types of action such as the development of public mechanisms for developing and disseminating innovation. Furthermore, basic and applied research infrastructure in universities and research institutions will be strengthened to promote innovative specialization sectors in the Region, while further aims include their operational concentration and the improvement and expansion of their equipment and facilities.

Measure 1.3. Support for innovation and entrepreneurship

The creation of infrastructure for the development of high technology, innovative actions and their utilization by businesses can be achieved with the implementation of Measure 1.3, which accounts for 2.3% of the public expenditure of Priority Axis 1. The objective of Measure 1.3 is to support the innovative system of the Region in a complementary manner to the actions of the Competitiveness Operational Programme, with the objective of taking advantage of the economies of scale created by the innovation dissemination networks. In addition, it aims to strengthen and complete the local productive system and to promote new structures which lead to the formation of clusters of innovative production, a fact which will contribute to the attractiveness of the Region in terms of international, inter-regional competition.

Measure 1.4. Combined development of innovation and entrepreneurship

Innovative actions in selected specialization and excellence sectors will be implemented through Measure 1.4 of the Programme. The financial burden of the measure amounts to 22.3% of the priority axis’ public expenditure. The measure aims to assist those SMEs of the Region that have high development potential to improve their access to high-grade markets by improving and ensuring the quality of their products and production procedures, introducing innovative production methods and/or producing innovative products, utilising research results in industry, etc. The principal type of action will be the co-financing of a medium-term "Operational Plan", with explicit objectives, obligations and a general positive impact on the entrepreneurial/technological structure of the Region but also on the encouragement of an outward-looking attitude and the promotion of the comparative advantages of the local economy.

Measure 1.5. Aid provided for innovation investments in the processing sector under the Development Law

The objective is to promote new investments in the production of innovative products and the introduction of innovations into the productive process and to increase employment via incentives under the Development Law where it is demonstrated that the investments increase competitiveness and employment. The objective will be achieved with the implementation of Measure 1.5 of the Programme, with a financial burden of 5.8% of the public expenditure of Priority Axis 1. The Measure concerns the aid provided, through the incentives of Law 2601/98 (and any future amendments thereto), for private investments in the processing sector that aim at the manufacture of innovative products or the integration of innovations in the productive procedure, within the meaning of article 3 of Law 2601/98 (and any subsequent provisions). 

Measure 1.6. Transformation of Thessaloniki onto an international transport hub and a maritime gateway to the Balkans.

The strengthening of the position of Thessaloniki as an international transport and telecommunications hub will be realised by exploiting its advantages and improving the existing infrastructure. This objective will be achieved through Measure 1.6, which represents 57.8% of the priority axis’ public expenditure. The types of actions which will be used include completion of the links between neighbouring urban centres with the Patra-Athens-Thessaloniki-Evzoni National Road and the Egnatia Highway, interventions at certain points to modernize the railway network, public transport and traffic flow interventions in the Thessaloniki conurbation, improvement of the infrastructure of the port of Thessaloniki as well as parallel projects in the transit sectors such as railway linkage with the sixth pier of the Port of Thessaloniki, etc. The implementation of a number of transportation infrastructure projects will create a network system around Thessaloniki, which will transform the city into a centre and a principal "gateway" to the Balkan geo-economical area.

Hellenic Republic
The actions of the Regional Operational Programme of Central Macedonia are co-financed from national resources and from the EU Structural Funds: European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund and European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund
European Union
European Commission
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