“A deliberate choice to abandon areas outside urban centers and islands has cost a lot of money to Greece, even in the years of artificial prosperity,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday during the inauguration of the Naval Academy in Kalymnos.
Tsipras said that “especially in the case of the islands, the central government was only concerned with tourism.”
“It is our strategic choice to set aside this bad tradition and to support our islands,” he stressed. As he said, this will be done by upgrading infrastructure, encouraging investments, and supporting health and education structures in the Ionian and Aegean islands, particularly in the Dodecanese. “The heart of Greece is here, not in the capital,” he said.
The main point of this strategy, he explained, is the implementation of the island travel equivalent – a subsidy designed to offset the higher cost of transporting people and goods by sea as compared to road transport – which has already started in 49 islands and will be extended to more islands. He noted that 5,000 Kalymnos islanders have registered with the relevant online platform and carried out approximately 2,000 journeys since its introduction on July 1, 2018, while the 139 businesses on the platform will have 57.35 pct of their transport costs refunded.