The European Parliament on Tuesday backed a set of one-off measures aimed at boosting the effective spending of 35 billion euros earmarked for Greece in the EU 2014-2020 budget. This includes 20 billion euros from structural and investment funds and 15 billion euros from agricultural funds.
MEPs followed the recommendation of Parliament's regional development committee and adopted the Commission's proposal by a vote of 586 to 87, with 21 abstentions, the European Commission said in a press release. This fast-track procedure paves the way for the swift adoption of the measures by the Council and their immediate implementation.
The measures are aimed at helping Greece ensure that all the money available from the 2007-2013 programing period is used before its expiry at the end of 2017 and to meet the requirements for accessing all the EU funds available to it in the current programing period of 2014-2020.
The funding covers programing periods up to 2020. The amendment to the current regulation proposed by the Commission and agreed by Parliament allows some 500 million euros to be released as soon as the legislation is adopted and a further 800 million euros released in advance of the formal closure of the programs in 2017.
Two specific measures will allow Greece to finish projects started under the 2007-2013 period by removing the need for national co-financing because the EU contribution rate is raised to 100 percent and making available the total amount, including pre-financing and interim payments, immediately (otherwise the last 5 percent of EU payments would have had to be held back until 2017).