At the worst financial and economic crisis of these decades, many European Member States are under a great deal of pressure facing debts and welfare budgets boosting ( ). The EU’s goal is to pursue a European economic revitalisation by 2020 ( ). If we can prioritise territorial unity as a way of implementing public policies within the EU Member States, the key goal would be to accomplish more. Based on the EU’s vision for economic recovery. This study has chosen Greece to concentrate on, describe how the European context could impact Greece’s spatial planning and development in the years to come, and then make recommendations.
In 1994, the Greek government concealed real data on the fiscal deficit to meet the requirements for joining the euro area and completely breached the EU limit of less than 3% of the annual fiscal deficit. Much of Greece’s debt is held by banks in the EU, and banks within the EU hold each other’s external debt ( ). As a result, the financial crisis in 2008 exacerbated Greece’s debt crisis and, at the same time, affected EU banks and ultimately affected the entire euro area ( ). Therefore, Greece is one of the countries most in need of economic recovery after the financial crisis in the EU 2020 plan.
Greece has a combined market economy and public spending, accounting for about half of GDP ( ). Tourism is a pillar industry in Greece, accounting for about 15% of Greek GDP ( ). Second, Greek agriculture is an important part of the economy. Agriculture accounts for about 37% of the country’s working population and agricultural exports account for 36% of the total value of exports (农业). Due to the development of tourism, the service sector has also become an important part of the Greek economy ( ). In 2013, the total output value of the Greek service industry was 82.3 per cent of GDP, while the employed population accounted for 70.5 per cent of the national labour force ( ). Also, Greece is one of the main beneficiaries of the EU ‘s economic assistance, and EU aid funds account for about 3.3% of the total GDP ( ). According to World Bank statistics, Greece’s economy (ranked as the 15th largest economy in the 27-member European Union) was 46th by nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and 54th by parity of purchasing power (PPP) respectively in 2015.
As regards per capita income, Greece ranked 38th or 47th in the world, respectively, for nominal GDP and PPP. (2016 by the World Bank)
After World War II, the economy of the world was devastated, but strong rates of economic growth continued in the 1950s through the 1970s. Greece has witnessed strong GDP growth since 2000, double the average in the Eurozone, hitting 5.9 per cent in 2003 and 5.5 per cent in 2006.
Recently, Greece’s economic activity has been adversely affected by the market chaos caused by the mid-2015 limits on capital control transactions, which reversed any positive performance reported in Budgets so far.
The adverse results were inferior to what was initially predicted, but the downward increase in GDP persisted in 2016. The Greek economy is still weak at the moment, and the circumstances back in 2015 affect Greek corporate sector business activities.
According to ICAP (ICAP Company, 2017), Greek businesses have succeeded in halting the unceasing downward trend of recent years. In 2015, the revenue of the 15,771 companies (excluding banking, insurance and finance) fell by 2.8 per cent, with revenues falling in most industries, especially manufacturing (-8.2 per cent) and mining (-5.8 per cent).
European Union & spatial planning
The Green Paper on territorial cohesion has identified the importance of territorial cohesion in EU spatial planning and some areas of territorial cohesion policy. The EU has a diversity of territories, so territorial cohesion helps to make full use of the characteristics of EU Member States to make diversification a sustainable development of the EU (CEC, 2008). The public policy helps the European Commission to rationally allocate its assets to territorial cohesion, to coordinate the difficulties of regions with specific geographical features and to promote the sustainable development of EU integration as a whole (ibid.). In terms of territorial cohesion, transport policies have an impact on locations of economic activity and immigration; and transport policies can directly improve links between less developed regions (ibid.). Energy policy promotes spatial cohesion in the European Union by developing integrated markets for natural gas and electricity in the European Union.
Furthermore, low carbon energy initiatives and renewable energy policies are conducive to the EU’s sustainable development and can provide some solutions for specific geographical characteristics (ibid.). As globalisation advances, the importance of the high-speed Internet to the European Union in global competition and social cohesion is increasing; Internet connectivity plays an equally important role in territorial cohesion (ibid.). The Common Agricultural Policy provides support to farmers, which ensures stable maintenance of activities and incomes in rural areas, and improves the management of land between regions.
Transport is the main means of linking European plans and promoting territorial cohesion (CEC,2017). With the growth of freight transportation, the risks of pollution and congestion are also increasing (CEC, 2020). The goal of the European Commission is to achieve sustainable, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly development; in particular, in terms of long-distance and urban transportation, an optimum mix of different modes of transport within the same transport chain would reduce energy demand and will also help to improve sustainable mobility (ibid.). The European Commission’s White Paper on the future of transport by 2050 proposes that cleaner energy transport be used in the future with a reduction in the total amount of energy used; to achieve these objectives, The White Paper plans to reduce over 300 kilometres of road transport by one third to rail or water transport by 2030 (CEC, 2017). By 2014, 75% of the mode of transport in Greece was cars, and the limited railway network resources caused it to carry less than 2% of goods by rail (figure 1: Greece / EL Freight transport by mode in 2014). The shortcomings of the railway network have always limited the development of the Greek urban economy and the import and export of goods. The following is a detailed description of the Greek government’s response to transport-related projects in the EU integration and its impact.
The European Corridor is at the core of the development of the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS) (CEC, 2020b). ERTMS is a signalling system equipment and the core technology of the European Transportation Community (CEC, n.d.). ERTMS currently has a total of nine corridor projects, and Greece is one of the eight co-construction countries of the Eastern-Eastern Corridor (RFC7, 2018). The Greek Railway Organization of Greece (OSE AE) is tasked with laying ERTMS equipment on Patras-Athens-Thessaloniki-Eidomeni-Promachonas(PATHEP) basic railway shafts. This axis is part of the Eastern Orient Corridor and the core of the TEN-T network (Hellenic Republic Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, n.d.).
Cernavoda-Constanța motorway, Romania：
CEC referred to the targets for the 2014-2020 period, including 4 600 km of renovated TEN-T rail line; Greece participated in the Cernavoda-Constanta motorway project; Romania participated in the TEN-T project; ( ). This road connects Bucharest and Constanta along the Black Sea coast, the largest port on the Black Sea, and one of the largest ports in Europe. This project is also part of TEN-T Priority Axis 7, which runs from Patra in Greece, through Athens to Sofia, and then to Budapest, and is part of the Orient East-Med corridor. Therefore, this project is of strategic significance for the economic recovery of Romania and the EU as a whole.
In the 2019 Global Competitiveness Report, Greece’s transport facilities are ranked very low compared to other EU Member States (CEC, 2020c). Despite financial support from the EU, Greece’s investment in transport averaged 1.7% of GDP in 2019. This has made the development of the railway axis very slow. The country’s main transport axis Patras-Athens-Thessaloniki project has been postponed due to the government’s supervision system and corruption, which has led to an increase in freight transport costs and affected prices. Based on the high cost and lower transport efficiency, railway freight traffic in Greece is not the primary transportation ( Figure: Comparison of a modal split in freight traffic in Greece ).
High-capacity telecommunications networks are crucial to global competitiveness (CEC, 2019). Because the use of digital services is increasingly used in global applications, For example, strong links between medical care, education, sustainable energy and a reliable energy knowledge base; it is also crucial to address the specific needs of vulnerable groups (CEC,2008). Many “smart city” projects have used digital networks to improve public services and resource use while reducing their environmental impact through digital energy control technologies (CEC, 2017). However, the European Digital Progress Report shows that less than one-fifth of the European Union enjoys high-capacity telecommunications network services (CEC, 2016). As of 2016, less than half of rural households in the EU Member States use NGA broadband (faster telecommunications networks), with almost none in rural Greece (0.3%). Compared to rural areas, urban households in Greece use more than half of NGA broadband, but far less than most EU Member States do (Figure xx ). The EU is projected to spend 4,400 high-speed internet networks in rural development in the future with plans to improve connectivity and digital facilities for some 20 million people in rural areas (CEC, 2017).
Figure xx: Households with access to Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband by type of area, 2012 and 2016
Greece’s National Broadband Next Generation Access Plan (from now on referred to as the NGA National Plan) aims at increasing modern broadband infrastructure across the country and providing citizens and businesses with a roadmap for high-speed and ultra-high-speed broadband services (NGA plan, 2019). The two objectives of the national plan are that all citizens will enjoy Internet speeds of more than 30 Mbps by 2020; and that at least half of households will have 100 Mbps of Internet access (NGA plan, 2019).
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