ECONOMY

Gov’t hopes to absorb 2 bln of EU subsidies

The government is targeting the absorption of 2 billion euros in European Union investment subsidies during 2005, having already received about 800 million euros in the first quarter, Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias said yesterday. «We are optimistic the absorption target will be attained,» he told a press conference on the progress of programs subsidized under the EU’s Third Community Support Framework, which runs until 2006. Folias noted that the government managed to avert the danger of losing funds last year, posed by the rule that they have to be returned if not absorbed within two years after approval. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that Greece has not yet submitted further disbursement applications this year, as negotiations with the Commission on implementing an action plan for improved management and monitoring of expenses have to be finalized. Folias said the government hopes that small and medium-sized enterprises will be able to apply for another round of investment subsidies again in a few months’ time.