ECONOMY

Athens gets ready to battle over subsidies

The government is bracing for a big negotiating battle for the next package of European Union subsidies at the bloc?s next General Affairs Council meeting on November 22. It concerns the National Strategic Reference Framework for the period from 2014 to 2020.

For its calculations, the European Commission is using gross domestic product data for the member states from the 2007-09 period, just before the outbreak of the financial crisis in Greece, thereby ranking this country among the wealthy states. This has led Brussels to propose a 40 percent reduction to the funds allocated to Greece.

If the General Affairs Council approves that proposal, then Greece will get some 8 billion euros less in the next funding period than the 20.4 billion euros it secured for the 2007 to 2013 term.

Greece?s main negotiating weapon will be the dramatic 25 percent drop in its GDP in the 2009-12 period, although wealthy EU countries are pushing for a curtailing of the bloc?s budget.