The Significance of the Project

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  7. The Significance of the Project

The Egnatia Motorway crosses the Regions of Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace starting from the Igoumenitsa Port, which provides links by boat to Italy, and ending to Kipi in Evros (Greek-Turkish borders).

On a national level, the Egnatia Motorway will increase investments in sectors like transport (e.g. new freight centers), industry and tourism. It will play an important role as a major development axis in Northern Greece.

On a European level, the motorway links the major industrial centers of the West with those in the East.

When fully constructed, the motorway will increase the investment potential in transport, industry and tourism. The major industrial centers in the West and East come closer. The European Union acknowledges the motorway’s significance and invests heavily in its construction.

Thessaloniki, a city that has been the capital and trade center of the region for 1500 years, regains its commercial, cultural and economic importance that was lost ninety years ago, when the neighboring national states were founded.

The Egnatia Motorway will also be a collector route for the Balkan and South-eastern European transport system. Pan-European Corridors IV (Berlin – Sofia – Thessaloniki), IX (Helsinki – Alexandroupolis) and X (Vienna – Belgrade – Thessaloniki) all end at the Egnatia Motorway.

The Egnatia Motorway and its vertical axes will enable Greece to play an active role in shaping the new regional Balkan market and to take an effective lead in Community operational initiatives associated with the Balkans. The opening of the Balkan market will create new outlets for Greek business and boost the export of the products and services this market demands.

The same routes can also be used to service the tourist flow to the Aegean, a popular destination for the tourists coming from the Balkan and Eastern-European countries who significantly affect the economic equilibrium of the country.

Furthermore, the motorway facilitates easy communication within Greece bringing isolated regions, such as Epirus and Western Macedonia, closer to the rest of Macedonia and Thrace. This will boost trade, tourism and social life in these regions, while halting and reversing the trend of rural depopulation, a major problem causing isolation of certain areas and overpopulation of urban places.

Easy transportation and access to the cities of Thessaloniki and Ioannina, where improved education and medical treatment services are provided, eliminates the feeling of isolation and abandonment present today in the regional populations.

The Egnatia Motorway and its vertical axes provide to the countries in the wider region easy access both to the metropolitan center of Thessaloniki and to Greece, in general, thus fostering friendly relations and unhindered communication between neighbouring populations for ages harbouring deep-seated prejudices against each other.

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