#EUandME – What does the EU do for Thessaloniki?

Are you a European citizen? If so, you will be able to vote in the European elections this year! They take place between 23 and 26 of May. To encourage people to vote, the European Parliament launched the portal ‘What Europe does for me’. This portal, also called #EUandME, gives clear, concrete examples of how the EU impacts our daily lives. I decided to explore what impact the EU has had in Thessaloniki.

The portal has three sections: ‘in my region’, ‘in my life’, and ‘in focus’. In the first section, you can find examples of EU-funded projects in regions all across Europe. You can zoom in to any area that interests you. For Thessaloniki, the portal lists five examples of projects that the European Union has supported:

Firstly, a natural gas terminal was built, providing natural gas from the north of the city to the south. This means that a larger amount of people can use natural gas instead of fuel oil.

The European Union also invested in equipment and the medical infrastructure in the local hospitals. Because of this, hospitals have become more modern, and better at providing adequate treatments and care.

The White Tower of Thessaloniki, Greece, positioned alongside the renewed waterfront
The White Tower of Thessaloniki, positioned alongside the renewed waterfront

Cultural investments

The portal also lists several cultural investments. For example, in 2013, the improved waterfront of Thessaloniki opened. It covers 50.800 square meters and is one of the biggest regeneration projects ever done in the city. The renewed waterfront now extends past the White Tower, where it becomes wider. It now has footpaths, cycle lanes, and several park areas alongside it. There are also different sports grounds and places to eat and drink. Five years later, the waterfront is a very popular part of the city, and the refurbishment has clearly been fruitful. Every day, large groups of people go outside to explore the waterfront, to watch beautiful sunsets, or to spend time in the park around the White Tower. The improved waterfront gives many people a great place to enjoy their time in the city, and to find some quiet time in the hectic city life.

Silhouettes of people walking alongside the waterfront of Thessaloniki, Greece
People walking alongside the waterfront of Thessaloniki

EU investments also allowed the construction of a large cultural centre. The centre stands in the municipality of Ampelokipoi, a neighbourhood of Thessaloniki close to the train station. The centre houses a fully equipped theatre with 300 seats, a library, and several dance and gym rooms. Because of these different elements, the centre can host a wide variety of cultural events. This makes the neighbourhood more attractive and culturally rich.

The Thessaloniki International Film Festival and Documentary Festival also receive funding from the European Union. These events attract many filmmakers from all over the world, as well as a lot of visitors, and they have given the city a more international vibe.

Thessaloniki Metro: an ongoing project

A project that is not mentioned in the portal, but that also has benefited from EU funding, is the still ongoing project of the Thessaloniki Metro. This project will make public transport in the city more attractive and efficient. All in all, investments from the European Union have had a lot of good impact on the city of Thessaloniki, making it more attractive, more international, and more efficient. In the future, Balkan Hotspot will look into the Thessaloniki Metro project more!

What has the EU done in your region?

Post Author: Sacha Bogaers

Sacha Bogaers
I am 23 years old and moved from Sweden to Greece for ten months. My main interests are human rights, activism, and art. I also love writing about LGBTQ+-related topics and social justice.

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