Administrative Structure of the Aegean

1. Regions

The Aegean administratively comprises the regions of Northern and Southern Aegean, with the former consisting of the prefectures of Lesvos, Chios, Samos and the latter of the Cyclades and the Dodecanese. The total surface area of the Aegean islands is 9.122 square kilometres, covering 6,9% of the country’s total surface area. It counts a total of 88 small and big islands, 57 of which are inhabited.

With the adoption of law 1622/1986, according to which the national territory was divided into 13 regions, the Northern and Southern Aegean regions were introduced in the Aegean area, with their administrative seats in Lesvos and Syros respectively. The prefectural administrations, which today govern the prefectures of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, the Cyclades and the Dodecanese, were established in 1994. The administrations’ core competence is the development planning in cooperation with the first level Local Administrative Units (OTA), the social, professional and scientific bodies of each prefecture coordinated by regional authorities, as well as the implementation of the development planning through the services of the prefecture and other institutions and bodies, such as development agencies, vocational training centres etc.

2. Provinces

The next administrative level is the province (eparcheio). There are twelve provinces in the Aegean: two in the Northern (Limnos, Ikaria) and ten in the Southern Aegean (Andros, Thira (Santorini), Naxos, Milos, Kea, Paros, Tinos, Kalymnos, Karpathos and the island of Kos). They were established as decentralized bodies of the prefectural administrations, and came under their authority in 1994, in order to provide for the areas with significant fragmentation of the population. They are administrated by an elected prefect, head of the provincial council, whose members participate also in the regional council.

3. Municipalities and communities

On the 1st of January 1999, on the basis of law 2539/97 (“Kapodistrias” law), new municipalities, which occurred from the unification of other small municipalities and communities, have been established; consequently, today the Aegean region numbers eighty municipalities and fourteen communities. Following the implementation of the “Kapodistrias” law, the last level of local administration, the historic institution of community, persists to a significant extent (almost 15% of the Aegean Local Administrative Unit) because of the geographical dispersion of the islands (see community of Agios Efstratios, Donousa, Schoinousa etc) and the distinct character of certain among these communities (see community of Oia).

Thirty-five municipalities and one community are located in the Northern Aegean (seventeen municipalities and one community in the prefecture of Lesvos, ten municipalities in the prefecture of Chios and eight municipalities in the prefecture of Samos) and forty-five municipalities and thirteen communities are located in the Southern Aegean (twenty-five municipalities and two communities in the prefecture of the Dodecanese and twenty municipalities and eleven communities in the prefecture of the Cyclades).

4. Ministry of Aegean

Finally, one should mention the foundation of the Ministry of the Aegean, which was founded on the basis of the law 1588/1986; however, due to the nature of its competence, the ministry did not affect significantly the function of the other levels of administration.