FINANCE

Brussels approves Greek ESPA

Package to offer 26.1 bln euros until 2027, including increased funds managed by regions

brussels-approves-greek-espa

The European Commission approved on Thursday Greece’s Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, known in this country as ESPA, which provides for an increase in the resources handled by regional authorities 2.2 billion euros.

Greece was the first European Union member-state to have its ESPA program approved by Brussels, which “will allow us also to become the first country to absorb resources from the new ESPA within this year,” as Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis pointed out.

The new subsidies framework is, according to the ministry’s plans, expected to be activated this fall with the approval of nine operational and 13 regional programs.

The total budget of the new ESPA comes to €26.1 billion, which includes the €5.3 billion of the Greek state’s contribution. Besides the €8.1 billion that the 13 regions of the country will manage – up from €5.9 billion in the 2014-2020 subsidy period – the new framework includes a clear program with increased resources toward digital transformation, civil protection, fair transition, the environment, climate change containment and energy. It incorporates new administrative principles and a new program for competitiveness with actions for bolstering businesses.

The Competitiveness program, the second biggest operational set of actions included in the Greek ESPA, has total resources of €3.9 billion, trailing only the program for the upgrading of human resources, which totals €4.2 billion.

The policy targets of the new framework form five priority pillars: A “smarter Europe,” with 30% of resources going to innovative entrepreneurship, a “greener Europe” that will absorb 27% of resources on offer, a more connected Europe, for which 8% is set aside, a more social Europe that will garner 30% of funds, and a Europe closer to its citizens, securing 6% of the ESPA financing.

Crucially for Greece, the new ESPA supports the fund for Fair Transition away from polluting fuel, with 7% of all resources channeled through specific actions to Western Macedonia, Megalopoli and the islands.