Greece is principally an insular country, and insularity is an integral part of the Greek identity. The geography of the Greek island clusters is unusual and its effects are multidimensional. The concept of insularity intertwines two notions, one more negative, the other more positive. One is the inherent weaknesses and disadvantages of small size, isolation, accessibility etc., permanent characteristics which negatively affect development and the islands’ viability, and therefore significantly threatening social cohesion.
The isolation of island life also has its virtues. Each islands’ unique natural wealth and cultural identity offers a multitude of options for implementing innovative interventions for the economy. Interventions in a number of development sectors, including primary production, manufacturing, employment, tourism, technology, health, energy and the environment— on a pilot scale as a precursor to extending their application to the whole of the state.
The Greek government and, by extension, the leadership of the Hellenic Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, is responsible for multi-level initiatives aimed at strengthening the role and the developmental dynamics of the islands, smoothing the disadvantages by turning them into opportunities and eventually making life on the islands sustainable everyday of the year. This very important effort must include the first and second degree local island authorities such as the Municipality, the Regional Authority, the Chambers and above all the productive bodies, the local enterprises.
We welcome the very important initiative —on behalf of E.O.A.E.N.— of the publication of this Greek Exports Guide of businesses for our islands. Bolstering these companies—which are the engine of both the island and a large part of the entire Greek economy is paramount. The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy’s objective is to stimulate and strengthen healthy entrepreneurship as a springboard to achieving island-centric sustainable and equitable growth.
Deputy Minister of Maritime Affairs
and Insular Policy