€370 mln more for rural areas

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The government will be sticking to its ten-year action plan to support the island’s mountain communities, pumping in some €525 mln through 350 activities by the end of 2030, President Nicos Anastasiades pledged on Monday.

The president announced the progress his administration has made in the implementation of the “National Strategy for the Development of Mountain Communities 2022-2030” and the revised housing plans, as well as allowances to support inhabitants of mountainous and remote communities.

The initial strategy was approved in 2019 and aims to revive the wider Troodos region, but, as the President said, it will now incorporate the rest of the rural areas of Cyprus.

Anastasiades said that nearly half, or 194 actions for the development of rural areas, with a total cost €367 mln, have already been completed or are in the process of being implemented.

He added that some €370 mln would be pumped into the development of rural and mountain communities during the upcoming period, some €125 mln more than the previous three years.

This was parallel to the road network projects that had been a longstanding demand of the rural and mountain communities, with a cost of €350 mln, said Anastasiades.

The road works, announced last year, include improvements to the Limassol-Saitas road, the Paphos-Polis Chrysochous highway, the Nicosia-Palaichori and Astromeriti-Evrychou highways and the Nicosia orbital motorway.

Anastasiades also said that the government will include projects that are being financed by the EU Recovery and Resilience Fund.

Troodos hospital

These are the upgrade of the Troodos hospital and its pulmonological clinic and promoting sports by upgrading the ‘Glafkos Clerides’ National Centre of High-Performance Sports in Agros and the creation of a high-performance sports training centre in Prodromos.

The President also said that the government will be stepping up its incentive schemes to encourage young people to build a home and set up a business in the mountainous areas.

He said that to date, applications for housing worth €20 mln have been approved, while with the completion of the evaluation of the pending applications, the total financial support is expected to exceed €25 mln.

Anastasiades said that the authorities will revise the altitude criteria for aid to mountainous areas, resulting in the addition of 119 communities with a population of over 25,000.

At the same time, the criteria for financial assistance to remote communities will change to benefit an additional 130 communities, targeting a population of over 27,000.