FINANCE

Greece’s greatest challenge

Gov’t officials fret over the mammoth task of absorbing €30.5 bln in EU resources by 2026

greece-s-greatest-challenge

The successful absorption of the 30.5 billion euros in resources the European Union has promised Greece by 2026 constitutes the greatest challenge Greece will face in the coming years, government officials concede. Their concern is based on the country’s record in its absorption of previous, smaller support packages.

Describing the size of the task, the competent minister, Thodoros Skylakakis, said that Greece will be asked to absorb twice the amount of resources in 2022 as its regular public investment program of €5 billion per year. The alternate finance minister has added Greece will also have to increase its private investments by 30%.

After submitting a copy of the country’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan in person to the head of the European Commission’s Representation in Greece, George Moschovis, yesterday, Skylakakis spoke in public about the challenge: “We now have ahead of us the most difficult project of absorbing the huge resources that will allow the country not only to achieve a dynamic recovery, but also to enter a permanent long-term course of growth and change in its production model, to the benefit of Greek society.”

The difficulties ahead concern not only the public sector but the private sector too: Nikos Vettas, the director general of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), noted last week that large sections of the public administration and entrepreneurship are not able to respond to the need to complete demanding investment projects.

A special coordinating task force for the recovery fund has been created, with Nikos Mantzoufas at the helm; it is set to be staffed with 40 officials, of whom at least 20 will come from the public sector; there will also be a multitude of private consultants and an online project management system. So far, 12 civil servants have already been appointed to the task force.

Several projects have already started on national resources, ahead of the arrival of the first €4 billion by end-August.