ECONOMY

Failure to complete projects has slashed ESPA

failure-to-complete-projects-has-slashed-espa

The National Strategic Reference Framework (known in Greece as ESPA) for the 2007-13 period will expire this month with the total funds invested by the European Union and the state coming to 18.9 billion euros rather than the original target of 23.8 billion euros.

The almost 5-billion-euro shortfall in the subsidy program is the result of the country’s inability to complete green-lighted projects on time, even though a number of them had started even before the community support frameworks began, over two decades ago. Several of these projects are being labeled as incomplete and transferred to the new support framework (2014-20), while others have been excluded from community funding, which means they will either stop or have to be exclusively bankrolled by the state.

According to data presented in the latest report by the monitoring committee on the end of the ESPA period, there are 542 incomplete projects budgeted at 4.3 billion euros in total that are being transferred to the 2014-20 funding period. They will therefore absorb over a quarter of the 19.7-billion-euro budget of that current funding period.

Another key reason why the previous funding package was not utilized is the reduction of state participation, to which the country agreed twice in the last few years, even though its participation was cut so that it would not to miss out on EU financing set aside for projects.