“Despite the very tight schedule,” the first disbursements from the EU Recovery Fund will likely be made before the summer holidays, that is before the end of July, Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni was quoted as telling state-run news agency ANA-MPA in an interview on Thursday.
Regarding Greece’s plan, which is second in line of those submitted to the European Commission, Gentiloni said that the principle of “first-come, first served” will apply, meaning that Greece’s plan will be one of the first to be evaluated by the Commission.
Moreover, he said that it was positive that Greece and Italy have requested the full amount in loans they are entitled to receive from the Fund. The two countries will benefit from the Commission’s favourable interest rates more than the others and are the only ones to have applied for all the loans.
Six other countries have applied to use the Recovery Fund loans, but not the full amount they are entitled to. According to the Commissioner, there are two reasons: first, because they can decide by August 2023, and second, because there is caution due to the complexity of the reform and investment plans.
By contrast, 19 countries are making use of SURE loans because they are easily linked to existing employment support plans. Nevertheless, the total amount of loans requested from the 360 billion euros available from the RRF has so far reached two thirds, he clarified.
Commenting on the 10th enhanced surveillance report, he said: “We have good news in some parts of the program that were implemented, but also some delays that should be addressed. We are quite satisfied with the new insolvency framework and we hope that delays, such as in overdue public debts, for example, will be overcome.”
Asked if Greece will have to return to primary surplus targets in 2023, the Commissioner said that the new approach to fiscal rules will also affect Greece.
“Of course Greece differs in that it’s under surveillance,” he noted, but just as the primary surplus target was not retained during the activation of the general escape clause, so will what happens from 2023 onwards be linked to the common European decisions.
He added, however, that the commitments of the Greek authorities in all aspects of the program must be fully implemented.