First Ladies Mrs. Maria Lioni

13th issue In-On

The Periphery of Crete moves towards the establishment of a regional food industry institution

“Innovations aim at promoting transparency, fighting maladministration and enhancing the environment for the development of business activities through the creation of new institutions, such as the advocate for business and the exploitation of the internet and new technologies” underlined in an interview to “In-On” magazine, the first woman who serves as the vice-prefect of Rethymnon Mrs. Maria Lioni.
She also stressed that “the citizens of Rethymnon have recently proved not only by their attitude but also by their vote that they equally trust men and women regarding their engagement with politics. This constitutes a reality either in the local government, where female colleagues serve in the first or secondary level as members of the City and county councils, deputy mayors, and  vice-prefects  or in the Parliament,  as in the last six years one out of two members of the parliament is a woman. The local community being acquainted with women’s presence in the local government as well as my own 25 year engagement in politics was not prejudiced against a woman’s election in the position of a vice-prefect”.
Moreover, she continued “On behalf of the region of Crete our aim is to reinforce entrepreneurship and promote our capabilities in production through certain interventions in the three productive sectors, giving priority though, to the promotion of agriculture which is the cornerstone of Cretan economy.  At the same time we incorporate new technologies to the secondary sector. Regarding the primary sector (agriculture – animal breeding) we are planning interventions so as our production improves not only in quantity but also in quality making, therefore, our products more competitive. Through our products we wish to push forward the comparative benefits of the Cretan agriculture and diet, which should connect other productive sectors such as tourism and small industries. Our producers need support in this effort in the form of scientific research and aid as well as with motives to commence new investments and activities. Among others, the region of Crete will directly move to the establishment of an operational food industry institution, which will undertake the coordination of activities all over the region. The main aim of the institution is the strategic design, the assistance of the necessary co-operations generally in the field of diet but also in other sectors as well (tourism, health, industry, education).
Regarding the secondary sector, the enlargement and the modernization of the productive base combined with the extroversion of the enterprises and the opening of the markets abroad constitutes a great challenge. It is of crucial importance to connect this section with the primary sector giving emphasis to the units and businesses that are engaged with the standardization of agricultural products. Finally, as far as tourism is concerned which is the flagship of our local economy, we emphasize on targeted markets and the promotion of Crete as a single tourist destination. Additionally, reinforcement of our investments is also needed in order to promote new and alternative forms of tourism and extend the tourist season as well as the ultimate exploitation of the comparative benefit called “Cretan Diet”. However, one should not forget that the development in tourism presupposes the existence of the latest logistical assistance and urban infrastructure (roads, airports, ports) as well as the use of qualified human recourses”.

Curriculum Vitae
Maria Lioni was born in Orchomenos in Viotia. She studied Law at the Law School of Athens graduating with honors.
She is married to Christos Lionis, Associate Professor in the School of Medicine in Crete. She is a mother of two children: Eugene who is a researcher in pharmacology and Dimitris, a graduate student of the department of Statistics at the Athens University of Economics and Business.
Since 1983, she practices law in Rethymnon and is a Court of Appeals Lawyer.
In 1986, she was elected counselor in the city of Rethymnon and from 1987 till 1990 she served as a chairman in the City council.
In 1994, she was elected Prefectural councilor in the city of Rethymnon and from 1995 till 1997 she served as a Deputy Prefect of Rethymnon. Also,  she served as a vice-prefect  in the sectors of Education, Culture and  Social Welfare.
She was reelected in 2007 as a counselor in the city of Rethymnon and served as a Deputy Mayor engaged in issues of social policy.
From December 2009 till December 2010 she served as a Secretary General in the region of central Macedonia.

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