"Development in the post-lignite era. A challenge in which Government, Local Government and Citizens must respond positively ", is the title of the article by the mayor of Kozani, Lazaros Maloutas, in the monthly magazine "Financial Inspection". The full text:
The word development, although a thousand words, especially in times of economic crisis, does not cease to be the only term, which contains all those perspectives, converging in creating the optimal social and economic conditions for a place.
How development is achieved; How we progress and move forward; What we need to change to succeed;
If the above anxieties are a common place for everyone, are of great importance for Kozani and its citizens, given the fact that :
- They have been experiencing the prolonged crisis of de-lignification for years, since September of 2019 has now obtained a definitive timetable, with the future looking threatening
- The economic consequences in our region are extremely unfavorable as well, due to the coronavirus pandemic, lock down was imposed by the largest in our country
- They are faced with an unbridled populism, which by investing in the insecurity of citizens in the face of new challenges and opportunities seeks, to keep the place captive of a troubled past.
An initial realistic approach to the issue of development challenge requires us to admit that de-ligation is already a reality.
How else would we describe the event, that in the energy axis of Western Macedonia, which ten years ago contributed to the production of electricity from lignite at a rate of its order 70%, the 2020 the total contribution just exceeded 10% and obviously the 2021 the percentage will be in single digits.
Mankind today realizes the consequences of using fossil fuels and adopts policies to reduce them. In this direction, the European Union, leads in the implementation of innovative policies, aimed at climate neutrality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The second assumption is therefore the agreement that the direction, in which we must move, she is for granted.
Inevitably, we are led to a third assumption, that the transition to the new reality, in the new era it must be fair and it must be smooth.
A holistic approach is needed, in order to create sufficient conditions for achieving this purpose. The design should take into account the changes, occurring in the existing production model, which collapses. Otherwise the consequences for the energy axis will be catastrophic.
The brief report of the above also highlights the relevant problems.
Depoliticization is evolving rapidly, the planning for the next day has at least a medium-term horizon, with a visible consequence of the risk of collapse of the area, which is shrinking more and more violently in terms of population and economy. So time is not our ally.
We respond positively to the challenge of transition as opposed to those, who continue to walk pretending, that de-lignification occurs in another place and time, trying to create a narrative for the next election. That's why:
- we prepared a comprehensive plan for the course of our municipality taking into account the competitive environment, where we move and claim the best for our place
- we cooperate with the State without exercising trade unionism in the issues of de-lignification nor do we demand that the reality be adapted to our imaginary view of Spatial Planning or RES
- we do not refer to others everything,what is our responsibility and competence
So in the context of the transition we are preparing, to seize the opportunities, that stand out
- utilizing all financial tools, to form a new development model
- making our region a pioneer in green development and adaptation to the new deal
- upgrading the quality of life and the environment
- building a recognizable and attractive identity of our municipality, to be a pole of sustainable development
- creating those infrastructures, which increase the area's sense of security and accessibility
Our area was for many years identical with lignite mines, polluting power plants and acute environmental problems.
Today we are planning the future of our place based on the comparative advantages of the region in the fields of electricity transmission networks and energy culture., which has been developed for years
Our proposal is based on three axes. Green agreement, Digital transition, Holistic approach.
We aim at
- Strengthening entrepreneurship with the aim of transforming the economy (ΒΙ.ΠΕ. Kozani, Circular Economy Park, Innovation Business Park, Completion of digital and transport infrastructure)
- Balanced and sustainable urban development to create an attractive and upgraded urban environment
- Developing a national pole of innovation and sustainability, with emphasis on energy applications with production and use of RES to redefine the character of the Municipality.
In this context
- We are preparing the proposal of the Municipality of Kozani for our participation in 100 climate neutral cities up to 2030, an initiative, which can make the Municipality a pioneer in green development
- We are preparing the strategic plan for urban development, an essential tool for the overall recording of necessary interventions to upgrade the quality of life.
- We document the necessity of building a new Hospital at the junction of Egnatia Odos, which will provide a high level of health services and will create a sense of security for the citizens while at the same time it will be a pole of development
- We are already implementing our strategic planning for the digital transition in cooperation with the University of Western Macedonia.
These initiatives ensure sustainable development in the region, combining environmental sustainability with ecology, innovation and research with entrepreneurship and the circular economy.
They create the conditions for the transformation of the economic model of the region, launch new investments boosting employment and incomes.
Point out, that the road to de-lignification is long and difficult, as evidenced by the European experience of similar projects.
De-lignification is the dominant issue of this decade for our region. All of us, local authorities and central government, we will be judged to the extent of our responsibilities and responsibilities from the outcome of this project.
In the Municipality of Kozani this is our guide.