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European Investment Bank backs transformation of civil protection and pandemic preparedness

28 January 2021
Published in Last News

"S.M.R. Consultants" is delighted to announce you that the European Investment Bank (EIB) supports transformation of civil protection and pandemic preparedness. Our company has been providing consulting services to the General Secretariat for Civil Protection with respect to COVID-19 response, disaster prevention and management. More precisely, we managed to accomplish the following:

  • EUR 595 million support to strengthen COVID-19 response, disaster prevention and management
  • New equipment, local coordination and risk assessment in all 13 Greek regions
  • Largest ever EIB backing for civil protection and resilience to natural disasters

Civil protection across Greece to better tackle COVID-19 and reduce loss of life through natural disasters will be transformed under a new EUR 595 million European Investment Bank loan formally agreed earlier today. Long-term financing and shared technical best-practice will help to transform disaster prevention and response to pandemics and natural disasters including floods, forest fires and earthquakes in all 13 Greek regions.

The expected impact and broad scope of the first ever EIB support to the General Secretariat for Civil Protection was highlighted by Christos Staikouras, Finance Minister of the Hellenic Republic and Governor of the European Investment Bank, Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management Nikos Chardalias and Christian Kettel Thomsen, EIB Vice President responsible for Greece during a virtual announcement earlier today.

“The protection of human life from natural disasters and pandemics is a constant top priority for Greece and has become even more crucial after last year's challenges due to severe weather phenomena and COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s important new agreement with the European Investment Bank will transform civil protection across Greece and help achieve this goal. The European Investment Bank is a key partner of Greece and the new EUR 595 million loan agreed today, following the systematic, hard work done by the Greek Civil Protection and rapid EIB approval, demonstrates how the EIB is supporting visionary investment to fortify Greece against natural disasters, extreme weather and pandemics.” said Christos Staikouras, Minister of Finance of the Hellenic Republic and Governor of the European Investment Bank.

“Pandemics and natural disaster can occur at any time and investing is crucial to save lives and ensure a quicker and more effective response when disaster strikes. The first ever European Investment Bank support for the General Secretariat for Civil Protection will accelerate priority projects and procurement of essential equipment across Greece and enable the whole country to help tackle future fires, floods, earthquakes and pandemics. Fires and floods that have taken a heavy toll in recent years and the impact of COVID-19 have shown how disaster prevention, rapid response and availability of specialist equipment is essential. This new EUR 595 million long-term financing will accelerate investment to improve environmental protection, disaster management and response to public health emergencies and will allow an even better preparedness of the Civil Protection mechanism,” said Deputy Minister for Civil Protection and Crisis Management, Nikos Chardalias.

“Extreme weather, fires, earthquakes and COVID-19 have led to unexpected loss of life and show the importance of ensuring that professional and effective help can arrive quickly. Over recent months technical and financial experts from Greece and the European Investment Bank have outlined projects across Greece where disaster preparedness can be improved through unlocking new investment. The European Investment Bank is pleased to agree our largest ever support for civil protection in Europe through our first ever loan with the Ministry of Citizen Protection. Lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic and best practice identified by this scheme will help to save lives in Greece and strengthen future best practice of civil protection across Europe.” said Christian Kettel Thomsen, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for Greece.

The new initiative, representing the largest ever targeted support for civil protection in Europe backed by the European Investment Bank, will provide mobile field hospitals, firefighting and medical evacuation aircraft, helicopters, drones and rescue equipment key to reduce loss of lives following natural disasters like fires, earthquakes and floods.

The programme, to be implemented over the next 5 years, will completely restructure civil protection in Greece enabling a quicker response, strengthened local preparedness and coordination and better supply of personnel and equipment.

Strengthening civil protection across Greece

The new investment includes provision of new equipment for use by the Hellenic Fire Service in the event of natural disasters, including helicopters and aircraft to fight wildfires and evacuate medical emergencies. Local disaster prevention, preparedness and response will be transformed by the creation of 13 regional civil protection teams and new communications networks and IT systems for use across the country.

Ensuring best practice in disaster prevention

Experts from the Greek government and the European Investment Bank will work together during implementation of the new initiative to use best-practice from across Europe and to further strengthen future disaster prevention investment across Europe.

Improving civil protection cooperation in Europe

The new investment will improve European coordination of civil protection and disaster response. New specialist equipment can be used to help other countries in times of need under the new European Union RescEU civil protection mechanism. This enables firefighting planes and helicopters, medical evacuation planes, as well as a stockpile of medical equipment and field hospitals from EU member states to be used to respond to health emergencies.

Project "QUALIFY"

06 August 2020
Published in Last News

Quality standards and authenticity to foster competitiveness of agri-food SMEs (QUALIFY) has been designed to foster the competitiveness of the SMEs in the agri-food sector by tackling a challenge that affects the involved regions and the whole EU (as stated by the European Commission):

  • The improvement of the quality processes of these SMEs.
  • The fight against the fraud in the sector.
  • The promotion of the authenticity in their products.

Overcoming the barriers related to these challenges is to foster the reduction of costs, better chain values, better processes, and better products that will allow the tackled SMEs to grow and be more competitive in the national and international markets, where they need to enlarge their presence in front of larger companies, which are much less challenged by the presented topics.

The project aims at ensuring that when the projects funded under these schemes tackle agrifood SMEs they introduce aspects of quality, fraud prevention, and authenticity, which must complement the existing financial and non-financial instruments, enlarging the desired outcome: the growth of these SMEs.


The project also aims at enlarging the capacities of the managing authorities, relevant SMEs representatives and other stakeholders to better tackle these aspects and develop better and more efficient projects.


The objectives are based on the framework of selected instruments and their needs, as well as the logic for transregional collaboration, the EU Cohesion Policy and the ESIF, and the respective RIS3, all around the topic of the project, where managing authorities require strategic capacities to align actions and build on critical mass. QUALIFY’s overall objective is to promote the competitiveness of the SMEs in the agri-food sector through better quality and authenticity levels and standards, improving the policies tackling the promotion of the SMEs in this industry by ensuring that this relevant issue is present and efficiently introduced and implemented in the policies and strategies.


Other sub-objectives of the project are:


(i)            to ensure that SMEs in the sector have more efficient and effective quality standards to make them more competitive;


(ii)           to promote quality and authenticity standards as a key aspect for product differentiation, avoiding fraud;


(iii)          to set up a learning process starting from best practice identification and exchange of practice to manage ERDF-based instruments on interregional actions linked to the support of SMEs competitiveness;


(iv)         to support the implementation of PPs’ instruments action plans, explicitly exploiting the possibility to invest ESIF in smart specialisation areas linked to agrifood industry and its SMEs;


(v)          to develop the notion of cross-border knowledge exchange, where all PPs build on their knowledge through other partners’ experience and transferring their own;


(vi)         to promote the engagement of the stakeholders of the quadruple helix model in improving policy instruments;


(vii)        to foster the use of the ICTs as a main tool for competitiveness also in the agri-food sector, following the provisions of the EU’s digital agenda.

The Partners of the porject are the follwoing:

LP:       - Government of Catalonia – Department of Agriculture,Livestock,Fisheriesand Food

PP2:     - Chamber of Agriculture of la Vienne

PP3:     - Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

PP4:     - Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia

PP5:     - Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

PP6:     - Region of Thessaly



Project "The Playful Paradigm"

31 October 2019
Published in Last News




Cities offer unique opportunities for addressing the challenges of urbanization, ageing, climate change, social exclusion, only if enabling, enjoyable places are co-created. The project entitled "Play and the City: an innovative paradigm for social inclusion, sustainability and place-making", with acronym "The Playful Paradigm", aims to transfer the playful paradigm based on gamification as an innovative concept for promoting social inclsusion, healthy lifestyles & energy awareness, intergenerational & cultural mediation, place making & economy prosperity. Games offer new strategies for engaging city stakeholders in urban development. Make the healthy choice the enjoyable choice is this project's inspiring place-making principle. The holistic nature of games makes them excellent media for promoting inclusion and belonging; enabling individuals; overcominh inequities and frailty; pulling down walls and building bridges. This answers to the need of re-thinking the "community welfare", by engaging local communities and enhancing their cohesion and resilience. To promote health and decarbonisation City Health and Energy Diplomacy through social innovation needs to be implemented by Local Authorities in relation to different actors in the city and with other cities in Europe. This amounts to what can be called social brokerage and intermediation among all stakeholders. The participant countries are Italy, Lithuania, Greece, Portugal, Croatia, Poland, Ireland and Spain.  

E-Health Monitoring Project

10 July 2019
Published in Last News

The aim of E-Health Monitoring project is the implementation of an e-Health infrastructure able to guarantee the remote interaction between healthcare professionals and patients, using communication networks. The aim is to optimise the means available from the patient’s environment to the hospital platforms in order to ensure equal access to care for the patients/citizens according to a well-coordinated and well-graded approach. 

This project not only will become a means for monitoring health parameters outside of the traditional hospital environment but also will be able to create a permanent link between patients and healthcare personnel, providing in this way a direct improvement of the concept of equal access, equal quality and efficiency of health monitoring for the societal and economical development of enlarged Europe.

Because of the rising incidence of poverty and its many social consequences, one of which is the deteriorating public health conditions, this intelligent ubiquitous system will be able to ensure the continuity of care passing from the medical structure to the patient’s home or environment, provide access to care for as many patients as possible, and provide easy access to healthcare professional anywhere and anytime, reducing healthcare costs while maintaining a high quality of medical advice and follow-up.

The project activities consist of public events that will take place in three different territories of the two European Countries Greece and Bulgaria.


Participating organizations

Lead Beneficiary  “Centre of caring and solidarity of Komotini municipality” GREECE

“Central Union of Municipalities in Greece” GREECE

 “Democritus University of Thrace”  Komotini GREECE

''Municipality of Kirkovo (District of Kardjali)'' BULGARIA

''Association “EURORADAR” District of Smolyan''. BULGARIA

It is co-financed by the Interreg V-A Cooperation Programme Greece – Bulgaria 2014-2020, which is a cross-border cooperation Programme co-funded by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund.






30 May 2019
Published in Last News


Seven major municipalities in the Athens Metropolitan Area join efforts to launch showcase energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, utilizing innovative financial tools and attracting private investments. The projects comprise energy efficiency interventions in 116 municipal buildings, integration of a total 3.2 MW of photovoltaics on the roofs of these buildings and re-lamping for the municipal lighting. Total energy savings is 45.6 GWh/y and renewable electricity production is 4.8 GWh/y. Total cost for interventions is 20.24 M€ and the PRODESA cost is 1.06 M€.

To achieve its objectives, the project shall focus on optimal bundling of the fragmented municipal projects to achieve considerable size, reasonable payback time and risk diversification. Bundling is also expected to lower processing costs. Pooling of resources is used to optimize financial results for all parties and to ensure high participation of ESCOs in the tenders. The newly introduced National Revolving Fund for Energy Efficiency and the Utility ESCO Fund will be part of the pool. Pooling will facilitate the exploitation of innovative financing schemes. Crowdfunding has been recently introduced in the Greek legislation and this tool will be carefully studied and applied.

PRODESA is the first of its kind effort in Greece and aims to significantly contribute to the Energy Performance Contracting take-off. For this reason the project consortium has pooled together Key Actors such as the National Center for energy efficiency, the European Crowdfunding Network and entities with technical, financial and legal expertise. Being a showcase project, it emphasizes on capacity building, replicability, dissemination and exploitation of results. Two replicator municipalities are directly involved in the project and a network of at least 30 replicators will be initiated with the help of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece.

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