NEWS

Greek EU presidency to be cheapest ever?

Greece’s six-month presidency of the European Union, which is set to end on June 30, is likely to be the least costly on record, according to sources at the Foreign Ministry who indicated that less than half of the 50 million euros earmarked for the presidency by former Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras have been spent so far.

The total expenses are not expected to exceed 25 million euros and are more likely to fall between the 18- and 20-million-euro mark, the sources said, noting that the remaining amount will be returned to the coffers of the Finance Ministry. Although the sum is relatively small, it will be a symbolic indication that the Greek state is capable of avoiding wasteful spending.

The amount Greece has spent during the presidency is significantly lower than the 65 million euros spent by Cyprus in the second half of 2012 and the 95 million euros spent by Poland in the second half of 2011.

Foreign Ministry staff who have worked overtime over the past few months organizing the events staged as part of Greece’s presidency commitments did not receive additional pay, Kathimerini understands, while the contribution of sponsors and the decision to stage the bulk of the events at the state-owned Zappeio Hall, rather than renting out private spaces, helped rein in costs, sources said.

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