The recovery and resilience plans of Greece and 11 other European Union member-states on Tuesday received the necessary approval of the EU economy and finance ministers, opening the way for the payment of the first disbursements within this month.
“Today is an important day for Greece and Europe,” Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Tuesday after the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) meeting in Brussels.
“This development is the culmination of many months of hard, systematic work by the government in order to submit a mature and ambitious plan and ensure the conditions for the optimal and speediest possible use of the funds from the recovery facility,” the minister said.
Staikouras pointed out that the Greek Recovery and Resilience Plan amounts to 30.5 billion euros in funding from the Next Generation EU fund, with the first €4 billion now expected to be disbursed by the end of July, following its adoption. The total amount to be disbursed by the end of 2021 will be €7.5 billion, he said.
Tuesday’s decision by the ECOFIN Council will allow the government to start implementing the “Greece 2.0” plan, he added, stressing that this was a plan with Greek ownership, which was cohesive and realistic, and with a marked orientation toward reforms, investments and creating strong and sustainable economic growth, jobs and boosting social cohesion.
Alternate Finance Minister Thodoros Skylakakis also hailed the approval of Greece’s plan, only the second to be approved by the European Commission, with very flattering comments from all sides.
“It is a plan that aims to lead to a fundamental economic and social transformation of the country, acting as a catalyst for economic activity, technologies, institutions and attitudes,” Skylakakis said, noting that the funds made available to Greece are the highest per capita among all EU countries.
“The aim is not to simply have a dynamic economic recovery but for the implementation of Greece 2.0 to put the country onto a steady course of growth and a change of its productive model, which will become more open, more competitive, greener and more resilient,” the minister added.