First phase of extending power grid to Cyclades inaugurated; Commission annoyance over failure to mention EU funding

Tuesday, 20 March 2018 13:00
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The Greek state will save up to 80 million euros a year in reduced power subsidies for a handful of Cyclades isles, following the recent completion of a first phase of an EU-financed project. The first phase connected three islands with the Greek mainland's power grid.

A relevant ceremony was attended on Monday by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who from the island of Syros referred to an "emblematic project with a historic significance."

Besides Syros, the well-known holiday destinations of Mykonos and Paros were also connected to the mainland grid, a project that Tsipras and his radical leftist SYRIZA party had initially opposed while in the opposition. Moreover, delays and backtracking - along with legal challenges by local residents - also plagued the project after 2015, when Tsipras' leftist-rightist coalition government assumed power.   

More of the Cyclades, the island chain located roughly in the middle of the Aegean, are scheduled to be connected to the national grid in the coming period. Up until now, various Aegean isles were supplied with electricity by small and often outdated power plants that burned diesel oil.  

The issue of the project's EU financing also generated a reaction from Brussels, with an EU Commission spokesman taking to Twitter later on Monday to express his annoyance.  

In a Tweet on his account, Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas wrote, in Greek, that it was "sad that EU co-financing for the historic power (grid) connection of the Cyclades (islands) was overlooked in today's (Monday) coverage of the inauguration. In an era when Europe is under fire, it is significant that the EU's role in the country's (Greece) developmental transformation be emphasized."

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