ECONOMY

A rush to secure EU funds

a-rush-to-secure-eu-funds

Having received €4 billion as a downpayment on the €30.5 billion in aid (€17.8 billion in grants and €12.7 billion in loans) provided by the European Union through the Recovery and Resilience Fund, the government must now show it is efficiently absorbing the aid and sticking to the rest of its commitments to receive the next installment of €3.5 billion.

Among other things, a new list of projects to be included in those aided by the recovery fund will be published, operating agreements will be signed with European banks and Greek banks will be called upon to take part in the lending process. All these actions must take place in the coming days.

After speaking with top Finance Ministry officials, Kathimerini understands that they have three main priorities: start absorbing the available funds; get the ball rolling on the loans; and adopt, by the end of September, 13 prerequisites set by the European Commission in order for Greece to receive the €3.5 billion installment by the end of December.

Following the 12 projects already starting to be implemented through Greece’s Public Investment Program, the government will announce, in early September, a new batch of projects. 

The first 12 projects, budgeted at €1.42 billion, include the completion of the E65 highway segment, from Trikala, in central Greece, to the Egnatia Highway, a project budgeted at €480 million; local city planning projects (€345.2 million), the digitalization of property title deeds for the National Property Register (€242 million), the issuing of vouchers to students to buy laptops and tablets (€129.2 million), extending online public services to citizens (€69.4 million) and others.

To get the loans coming, the government must sign agreements with banks. Officials say they will soon sign agreements with both the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The call to Greek banks to provide loans will be issued in early September; the government has already hired a private law firm as a consultant.

The prerequisites to get the next installment include the above agreements with the EIB and the EBRD, a law on facilitating mergers and acquisitions and creating an infrastructure for charging electric vehicles.

EU