Gov't eyeing extra 2 billion euros in EU subsidies

By Evgenia Tzortzi

The program for the 2014-20 European Union subsidy funding period will entail the investment of 26 billion euros. On top of the 20.8 billion set to come from Brussels, another 5.2 billion from Greece will be added. This includes an extra 2 billion euros that the Greek side will attempt to obtain in 2016 by utilizing the revision clause.

The clause concerns a pledge that Brussels made to Greece during the negotiations in order to offset the fact that the distribution of resources was made on the basis of pre-crisis data from 2007 to 2009.

The European Commission’s approval of the Greek subsidy program late last week allows for the timely start of the program’s implementation within 2014.

According to Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis, “the completion of the procedures for the new funding program by the European Commission paves the way for the rapid approval of the specific programs that are already under negotiation with Brussels and will be officially submitted before midsummer.” He added that the government’s aim is to “begin the proclamation of the new actions as soon as possible and make sure that we will not have a funding gap as is usually the case between funding periods.”

Emphasis will be placed on action to tackle social problems, which will be frontloaded. Their immediate start will be a priority so they can quickly benefit the sections of the population that have been hardest hit.

Ministry planning includes programs for the employment and training of young people, support for hard-hit social groups, combating poverty, support for the unemployed, new businesses, vouchers for enterprises that hire young unemployed people, employment for the jobless in community work projects, and energy upgrades for homes via the ministry’s program for that purpose.