Officials clash over delay of Ionian highway project

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 21, 2020 20:25

Story Highlights

  • The debate began after a session in the Greek Parliament where one of the Ioannina MPs demanded that the Greek Ministry of Infrastructure authorities explain the delay in launching the highway project which was announced in 2013.

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TIRANA, Jan. 21 - The Greek Ministry of Infrastructure's revision of the Ionian highway project which extends to the Kakavia border checkpoint, has sparked heated debate in the northern Greek region of Ioannina, bordered by Albania. Municipalities in the northern Greek region, as well as business groups and tourist associations, are strongly opposed to plans by Prime Minister Mitsotakis' new government, which envisions changes in the project and budget cutoffs. 

The debate began after a session in the Greek Parliament where one of the Ioannina MPs demanded that the Greek Ministry of Infrastructure authorities explain the delay in launching the highway project which was announced in 2013. The ministry claimed that it was in the process of reviewing the project and cutting the budget, due to new plans to build a national road rather than a highway towards Kakavija. However, the mayor of Ioannina and the four municipalities bordering Albania, the Prefect of the region and several regional associations linked to tourism and business activities, urged the Greek government to begin the implementation of the highway project. "Changing the project which will connect the Ionian Road to Kakavija would affect the development of the region," they said during an announcement.

The Ionian highway was cut off at the outskirts of Ioannina and the 90 kilometer section that should connect it with Kakavija on the Albanian border, makes it a part of the axis of the Western Balkans' Ionian road. This road axis starts in Trieste, Italy, crosses through Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania and reaches the Kakavija bordering point with Greece.

Local leaders and business organizations in Gjirokastra joined the debate as well. Gjirokastra District Mayor, Lindita Rova, told the Voice of America during an interview that "they would share the  same volition with the Ioannina County to encourage the initiation of the highway project." Moreover, the Chairman of the Gjirokastra Chamber of Commerce, Maksi Hoxha, said that "road infrastructure is very important for the commerce between the two regions. We just signed an agreement with the Ioannina Chamber of Commerce on joint tourist packages and broad regional cooperation."

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 21, 2020 20:25