Greece is in a position to take the lead among European Union members in sustainable policies and investments, European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni said in Athens on Friday.
In the first presentation of the European Commission's new "European Green Deal Investment Plan" in Greece, Gentiloni explained the objectives and goals of the EU-wide project, stressing that "Greece could even become one of the green champions for Europe."
"Its geographical location and natural wealth offer opportunities for sustainable tourism, high-value eco-label products, renewable energy, and green logistics," said Gentiloni, a former Italian prime minister.
Sustainable development provides abundant opportunities for Greece to invest in areas such as management of solid waste, water treatment, or production of energy from renewable sources, explained Gentiloni.
"As of December 2019, total financing under the European Fund for Strategic Investment in Greece amounts to 2.7 billion euros," he said, adding that it's set to trigger 12.1 billion euros in additional investment.
Gentiloni also noted that "tackling climate change is the defining task of this Commission, and probably of those to follow, too."
He presented data showing that a quarter of the EU budget for the next seven years will head to tackling climate issues, as the bloc intends to invest a total of one trillion euros for that purpose over the next decade.
"This is necessary, but not sufficient," admitted the Commissioner, "as our agencies have calculated, we need to spend 260 billion euros per year. We need to transform our housing, transport, energy, agriculture, etc."
He further announced that the Commission will soon launch a public consultation process on a sustainable financial system and that "we are preparing guidance for green budgeting" for EU member states.