The Cohesion Policy of the European Union in Crete

Saturday, January 8, 2011: 3:10 PM
Dartmouth Room (Marriott Boston Copley Place)
Adam Robert Trusner , Virginia Military Institute
“The Cohesion Policy of the European Union in Crete”

After the entry of Greece into the European Community in 1981, the

Greek government and individual Greek citizens became eligible for a

wide range of European funding programs. These programs are intended

to bring infrastructure development in the various lesser-developed

regions of Europe, including the entirety of Greece, to the level of

the most-developed nations in the European Union.  One specific

funding program, and the focus of this paper, is the “cohesion”

funding program, which is directed towards providing grants which help

localities and national governments build large-scale infrastructure

improvements.  The island of Crete in particular has received a large

portion of these funds, and since the mid-1980s, there have been

multiple large infrastructure projects, such as a trans-insular

highway, the modernization of the major ports, a rural electrification

program, and the introduction of mechanical irrigation across the

island, all of which have helped transform Crete from one of the

poorest regions of Greece into one of the wealthiest (on a per-capita

income basis).  This paper will analyze how these projects are

designed, implemented, and received.  More specifically, this paper

will consider the example of the agricultural irrigation network – how

the project was conceived, who received the contracts to build the

network, who received access to this new irrigation network, and how

the project has affected the lives of the people of Crete.  At issue

in this examination is the author’s overall hypothesis that EU funding

projects, since they are sources of economic development historically

associated with the national government, are helping deconstruct the

sense of nationalism (often referred to as neo-Hellenism), which was

carefully constructed by the national government during the 20th Century, that most residents of Crete have shared to the present day.

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