ECONOMY

Athens plots effective use of EU funds

The government is employing two parallel resource management strategies as it tries to achieve the fastest possible absorption of the 18.4 billion euros approved for Greece in the context of the next European Union subsidy period of 2014 to 2020.

Athens has ensured that the second National Strategic Reference Framework, or NSRF II, will be funded by 90 percent from Brussels, a particularly high EU contribution that diminishes Greece’s participation to just a tenth of the program. This allows for the immediate start of projects selected as being mature enough to get started.

The second part of the strategy is about bridging structural funds from the first NSRF (2007-2013) to those from the second one for projects that will not be completed within the current period. Sources point to projects totaling at 3 billion euros at least. This bridging will allow them uninterrupted funding and will also banish the nightmare of lost EU subsidies.

Such projects are major highways, railway works, environmental schemes and digital convergence projects that could not possibly be completed by the end of 2015, which is the final date for the extended 2007-2013 program.