Location & population size Agrinion (Modern Greek: Αγρίνιο, Older form: Agrinion, Latin: Agrinium) is the largest city and a municipality of the Aetolia-Acarnania prefecture of Greece, with about 100,000 inhabitants (57,174 official population) home to around a quarter of the prefecture's population. It is situated beside the Achelous river, one of the longest rivers in Greece. The settlement dates back to ancient times. Ancient Agrinion was 3 km northeast of the present town; some walls and foundations have been excavated. In medieval times and until 1925, the area was known as Vrachori. Strategic importance Today, Agrinio is one of the largest cities of Western Greece. The majority of local people were for a time tobacco farmers at the close of 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries; companies included the famous Papastratos, alongside Panagopoulou and Papapetrou. Agrinion is agriculturally famous for its main production of Agrinion olives. The movement of the local populations towards the city has established Agrinio as the commercial and financial centre of the whole area. The basic agricultural products, such as tobacco and olive, shaped the local society by creating a “new city” which is not still fully developed. There are also very good facilities for tourists. The archaeological museum, the Papastratios Municipal Library and the grove of Agios Christoforos on the hillside with a panoramic view, are some of the sites worth seeing in town. The city authorities favoured the conditions for the development of cultural activities in the city. There are many indications of this flourishing during the last years. In addition, the last 10 years, the University of Ioannina has established three Departments in the city of Agrinio: Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Management, Department of Business Administration of Food and Agricultural Products, and Department of Cultural Heritage Management and New Technologies. Key business & employment sectors Third sector services (public services, health, engineers, commercial and financial services, etc.). Significant secondary sector, especially on agro-food industry. Significant primary sector: agricultures, especially olive and greenhouse cultures. Short historic & economic overview Located in the Etoloakarnania prefecture, Agrinio was an important tobacco-producing center up to the end of 20th century. Agrinio is now in a decline position after the cease of tobacco cultivation around city (main income source). Among first priorities are to support young people, to strengthen enterprises and to re-orient local economy. Importance of the SMEs in the local economy Almost all companies are SMEs and thus the local economy is strongly depended from SMEs. SMEs constitute the core of the Region Economy and are a major factor of social cohesion. They account for a substantial share of the business sector, being the key factor for generating employment opportunities and growth at both regional and national levels. The current policy approach emphasizes the adoption of a new, dynamic, entrepreneurial spirit, emphasizes job creation and aims to foster: Qualitative and quantitative improvements in productivity and production costs. Elimination of barriers to the creation of new enterprises. Establishment of a more conducive entrepreneurial environment. Modernization of technology. Importance of the Third Sector in the local economy The rest of activities refer to the third sector services, especially public services, health, construction, entertainment, education, commercial and financial services, etc.
Overall objective of the Local Action Plan
- protection, recovery and emergence of natural environment of a region which is considered to be the most “injured” in Western Greece, constitute basic need considering that has to demonstrate points that will bring growth and prosperity.
- enhancement of productive capacity of Municipality, via the assistance in the realisation of investments and the attracting of private capital and diffusion in the active potential of Municipality, constitutes necessity in order to increase employment and the production of added value and the strategic decrease of the disadvantages from the National Strategic Planning.
- planning and growth of an organized programme of exploitation of real estate of Municipality aiming at the appointment of their reciprocity for covering the needs constitute important intervention in the growth of Municipality.
- planning and growth of an organized programme enhancing the tertiary sector and specifically the tourism, as alternative activity, with respect to the environment and the local particularities, is considered absolutely necessary. The primary sector requires modernisation and innovative interventions, alternative ways of entrepreneurship that will approach the Strategic Planning.
- recording of groups of population that live in the Municipality, the detection of problems and needs and the mapping out of social policy that will correspond in the real needs of local society, constitute interventions of major importance.
- creation of offices for the information of unemployed and enterprises, with the networking of citizens of and enterprises and the creation - exploitation of registrations through the informative system that is materialised in the Municipality and by the existing web site of Municipality, is appreciated that will contribute in the exploitation of advantages of the region.
- structures that function for the third age should be extended in a level of offered services, there should also be promoted the posts and voluntary work in social, environmental and cultural activities and be joined the services for the better and effective operation. It is mentioned that for the programs «Help at Home», «Centres for the daily care of old people», «Units of Social Concern», Centres for Creative Employment of Children, Centres for Creative Employment of Children with Disabilities, Crèches, there is a decision of continuation of their financing with Community and National resources. The financing will be continued until 31/8/2008.
- growth of relations of good neighbourhood with the adjacent Municipalities (enhance of municipal collaboration), for the resolution of common problems (Water supply - Sewerage - Litter), will involve economies of scale.
Operational objectives of the Local Action Plan
More specifically the Developmental Vision of Municipality for the period 2007 - 2010, based in four general objectives, is expressed and developed based in the following six main axes of priority:
- AXIS 1: Environment - Quality of life with accent in: a. the Management of Watery Resources, b. the Collection - Disposal of Sewages, c. the protection of Environment, d. Road projects, reformations, traffic interventions,
- AXIS 2: Education, with accent in the modernisation of installations that belong to the Municipality and in the exploitation of the Municipal Buildings for relevant activities. Culture, with exploitation of historical heritage of Municipality in order to be shaped high cultural identity. Sports, with growth of sports, creation of modern infrastructures and conditions of exercising for the public.
- AXIS 3: Promotion of Entrepreneurship - Growth - Employment, with accent in the exploitation of products of Primary Sector, in the Promotion - Tourist Exploitation of the region, and in the creation of conditions for growth.
- AXIS 4: Social Concern - Protection of Health, with accent in actions for the Third age, the frail group of people and the enhance of infrastructures of Health.
- AXIS 5: Urban and Spatial Planning, with accent in with accent in the radical reformation of city of Agrinio that foresees the new Community Support Framework
- AXIS 6: Administrative reformation, with accent in the upgrade of benefit of services to citizens, the developmental activities of protection of environment and the collaborations in public and municipal level.
Related Good Practices