By Evgenia Tzortzi
The government is attempting to make up for some of the effects of the financial crisis by front-loading the implementation of the new European Union subsidy program, which will see 5.5 billion euros invested in the Greek economy this year and next.
The total amount of funds that will be invested in the 2014-2015 period will exceed 9 billion euros, as on top of 5.5 billion euros’ worth of subsidies from Brussels for the new funding period (2014-2020), there is another 4 billion euros from the previous funding period that has to be absorbed by the end of 2015.
The draft plan for the new funding period, as submitted by the Development Ministry to the European Commission, aims at increasing productive investments, reducing the jobless rate, increasing employment from the current level of 55 percent of the workforce to 70 percent, reverting the per capita income rate to the pre-crisis level, reducing the dependence of the economy on domestic consumption and modernizing the state.
In order to achieve these targets, the plan provides for the investment of some 19.5 billion euros through the end of 2020, not including funds left over from the previous funding period. These targets stem from the Europe 2020 agenda and are expected to be implemented by shifting the focus of the economy toward smart entrepreneurship and strengthening social cohesion by limiting state intervention in major infrastructure projects – particularly those that have fallen behind from the previous funding period, such as Greece’s railway networks, the metro and the country’s highways.
The new funding program will form an integral part and key support instrument of the Structural Reforms Program being implemented by the government. Its priorities will be the smart specialization, the improvement of competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises, the promotion of sustainable transport, support for workers’ mobility, social inclusion and combating poverty.
The measure of success in meeting the targets will be affirmed by quantifiable indexes such as reducing the number of the people on the poverty line by 450,000 and diminishing the rate of school drop-outs from 11.4 percent to 9.7 percent by 2020.