ECONOMY

Folias apprehensive on possible loss of some EU investment subsidies

Deputy Economy Minister Christos Folias said yesterday Greece is in danger of losing 1.3 million euros in investment subsidies under the European Union’s Third Community Support Framework (CSFIII) by the end of the year. The danger arises from the rule which mandates that approved funds must be used within two years. Such losses, for which the ministry insists that every effort will be made in order to be avoided or limited, would seriously affect development programs in several regions. The danger of losing funds is also apparent in such programs as the Society of Information and Competitiveness. Folias said averting the danger will require great effort. Greece lost 531 million euros under CSFII and may still have to forgo an additional amount of 224 million euros. Folias said the government has received to date only 1.12 billion euros under CSFIII in comparison with total budgeted inflows of 4.2 billion euros for 2004. The ministry applied last month for additional payments of 700 million euros and the annual rate of targeted inflows is now being downgraded to 3 billion euros, which is also in danger of not being realized. Dramatic delays are also characteristic of the budgeted public expenditure for the current year, projected at 6.27 billion euros, of which only 820 million euros had materialized by July 15. The Economy and Finance Ministry is now preparing four tenders, at the cost of 17.5 million euros, for the selection of auditors and surveyors who will oversee and check the quality of projects funded by CSF and the Cohesion Fund. Referring to the upcoming Fourth Community Support Framework, Folias said that top priorities to be funded will include education and training.