How the EBRD is supporting PPPs in Greece

By Olga Aristeidou

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University of Thessaly, Volos.

Urban regeneration of a ministerial park, student accommodation and irrigation projects among the first EBRD-supported projects

Public–private partnerships (PPPs) have become a popular procurement model for completing infrastructure projects. The public sector collaborates with private-sector companies to finance, build and operate infrastructure assets to provide public services. 

If properly structured, financing through a PPP can help to ensure faster and more efficient project completion. The EBRD has plenty of expertise in this field. It has supported public-sector clients in preparing PPPs in different countries, with complex documentation requirements and tender processes, and has also financed some of the private tender winners.

Less than two years ago, the Bank joined forces with the Ministry of Development and Investments of Greece to establish a new PPP preparation facility, following a request from the Greek authorities. The new facility, which is funded by Greece, has already supported several projects in the country, mostly in the social infrastructure (education, health and public buildings), sustainable urban infrastructure and water resources management sectors.

It provides high-quality, client-oriented project preparation, training and advisory services, policy support and institutional strengthening activities related to the infrastructure sector. All of services are customised to Greece, but meet international standards and documentation norms.

The Bank is playing an active role, alongside its partners, in mobilising additional fresh private capital. It focuses on the key issues relevant to the development of PPPs and explores solutions to potential problems.

Ministerial park

One of the PPPs the EBRD is currently supporting is the relocation of nine ministries to one central location, currently a semi-operational industrial complex used for manufacturing weapons and ammunition. The new ministerial park will be the main component of the urban regeneration of the municipality of Daphne-Hymettus, where it will be located. 

The park will help reduce annual operating costs, increase fiscal space, improve public service quality and accessibility, improve the work environment of civil servants and have social and environmental benefits for citizens. It will be a more efficient use of public resources, as the nine ministries are currently spread across 127 buildings in Athens.

The PPP contract will entail the demolition of old buildings in the industrial complex, the renovation of 25 buildings, the construction of four new buildings and two underground parking areas, an underground connection to the Metro and the urban regeneration of the entire 116,000 m2 plot, creating a massive urban park. The total investment is estimated at €250 million.

Student accommodation

Universities in Greece are under increasing pressure to provide high-quality, affordable education to students, while simultaneously conducting research of the highest standard. In recent years, public funding has declined significantly due to the country’s economic stagnation, however, raising concerns about the viability of many institutions amid ever-increasing domestic and international competition.

Τhe EBRD is supporting a PPP for the design, financing, construction and technical management of student accommodation and other facilities at the University of Thessaly.

The project foresees the construction of university facilities, student residences, student clubs, sports facilities, common areas, green areas and a road network in two cities, Lamia (for 120 students) and Volos (for 785 students).

It will help to address the accommodation situation of students in serious financial need and of students participating in the apprenticeship programmes of the Hellenic Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) in similar financial difficulty.

Minagiotiko dam and irrigation network

All public irrigation infrastructure in Greece is fairly old and poorly maintained. The EBRD is supporting a PPP for the construction of a mid-sized dam and a new water irrigation network to meet the agricultural needs of the municipalities of Pylou, Nestoros and Messini in the Peloponnese region, which lack the necessary irrigation infrastructure.

This is one of three PPPs for the construction or upgrade of irrigation networks on which the Ministry of Rural Development and Food is currently working. It is strategically important to develop the economy of the agricultural sector taking into account the sustainable use of water resources.

The project is consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. It will contribute to the country’s climate change mitigation and adaptation objectives, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve energy efficiency and promote the adoption of renewable energy.

It also includes the design and construction of water mains, a water network for irrigation, required roadworks, the digitalisation of operations, and the maintenance and operation of the irrigation network.

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