ECONOMY

EU funds for human resources

BRUSSELS – Greece is supposed to absorb over 6 billion euros, of which -4.5 billion are EU funds, up to 2013 for the improvement of the country’s human resources, through the programs of the European Social Fund in the context of the Fourth Community Support Framework. These funds, which the European Commission approved yesterday, will be allocated to programs in several key domains, namely improving employability, educating and training workers so that they «respond better to the needs of the labor market,» lifelong learning and enhancing the quality of public administration. Special emphasis will be placed on combating discrimination and unregistered employment. The Commission envisages a number of action programs aimed at further developing human resources, improving education and lifelong learning, promoting public administration reform and boosting national resources to aid implementation of the other programs. In the Third CSF there were examples of specific actions such as programs for teaching Greek to immigrants, the training of employees in the tourism industry, or programs for explaining gender equality in secondary education and the creation of an electronic network connecting all the country’s schools. In total, the new programs will absorb funds of -6.12 billion, of which -4.35 billion will come from EU coffers and the rest from national resources. Interestingly, the money from the EU Social Fund will not be distributed equally among the regions, as they vary depending on the development of each. As a result, more than half of the Greek population or 6.13 million people who live in areas of «transitional support» or «gradual exit» such as Attica, central Greece or the Aegean, will receive less money than those funded as «convergence regions,» which will absorb the highest portion of the funds.