A ferry route that would link Greece to Cyprus has recently been given the green light by the European Commission, with a total of 6 million euros (6.7 million) to be granted annually to support the project.
The information was confirmed by Cyprus Deputy Minister Natasa Pilides on Monday, July 6, while speaking at a press conference, where she went further into detail on the proposed marine link.
“It is a significant step towards the implementation of this project, since securing approval from the European Commission was crucial and is a precondition to the next actions,” Minister Pilides said, clearly pleased with the outcome at the EU level.
As the only available means of travel to and from Cyprus is currently by air, the project’s goal is to strengthen the country’s connectivity and tourism sector with continental Europe.
After the project had been suspended 20 years ago, Minister Pilides tried to lead an initiative in order to reinvigorate interest in the Greece and Cyprus ferry link. After talks on state aid were conducted in July of 2019, the ferry idea started gaining traction once again.
On July 3, 2020, the EU’s Directorate-General for Competition announced that the project, which is of considerable economic interest for Cyprus, can indeed be supported by state funds.
Despite this, there is still much work to be done before planning can progress, the minister clarified. In order to proceed, the next step is an open bidding process in order to coordinate all available resources. A document has also been drafted to make sure the process complies with EU regulations.
The passenger and car ferry’s itinerary is scheduled to include either Limassol or Larnaca, Cyprus and Piraeus, Greece with the possibility of an intermediate stop along the way.
Service is expected to be conducted once a week in the summer (May to September) and once every two weeks in the winter (October to April). The hope is that the project will create a new market for travelers coming in from both Greece and Cyprus.