While the government is worried – and has every reason to do so – over whether Greece will be able to absorb the estimated 32 billion euros of grants and loans from the Next Generation EU fund, the Bruegel Institute sent a very encouraging message a few weeks ago.
The Brussels-based think tank estimated that this year Greece will register the third best record in the absorption of resources from the Partnership Agreement for the Development Framework, known in Greece as ESPA. Greece’s absorption rate has this year climbed to an estimated 60%, from just 39% last year, trailing only Lithuania and Estonia.
In contrast, other countries who are seen as being among the biggest beneficiaries of the Next Generation EU fund, such as Italy and Croatia, rank third and fourth from the bottom respectively, with projected absorption rates of 38.5% and 38.6%.
The European Commission expects just a quarter of the fund’s resources to be paid out in 2021-22, with the other three quarters from 2023 onward, but Bruegel commented that even that slow rate is very high compared with the absorption rates of resources from structural funds in the past.