ECONOMY

Greece set to lose out on regional funds

Greece stands to receive significantly less money in the context of the new National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) as the regions qualifying for the Target I bracket are set to drop from eight to three in the next period.

Even though the country?s economy is in deep recession, the European Commission?s preliminary proposal for the 2014-20 period is based on the gross domestic product of 2006-08, when Greece had positive growth rates. This means that only three regions of the country qualify for NSRF funding as a result of having a per capita GDP below the level of 75 purchasing power units.

The final negotiations and distribution of funds will not take place before the end of 2012, and the criteria for the qualification of regions and the years of reference may change. However a meeting held yesterday in Athens by the European Commission?s representation in Greece suggested that even with the use of 2009 data there would be very little change to the regional map of subsidies. As a result, Greece will have to seek more money from the Cohesion Fund, as other countries have also done in the past when experiencing financial difficulties.

The Commission?s proposal for the 2014-20 period shows that only the regions of East Macedonia and Thrace, Western Greece and Epirus would qualify as Target I areas. The Target II category would include Central Macedonia, Western Macedonia, Thessaly, the Peloponnese, the Ionian Islands and the Northern Aegean, as their per capita GDP stands at between 75 and 90 purchasing power units. Only Attica, the Southern Aegean and Crete have per capita GDP at over 90 PPUs and are classified in Target III.

For all 27 European Union member states, the budget for the cohesion policy amounts to 376 billion euros for the next funding period, which constitutes a 2 percent rise on the current period (2007-13). However, the bulk of that will go to Eastern European member states.