Gov’t sees EU subsidies aiding ‘leap into future’

Greece expects to receive a major further boost to its economy from European Union investment subsidies in the period to 2013, the government said yesterday. «When the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) is completed, Greece will have made a major leap into the future,» Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis told a presentation of NSRF, which will manage 39.4 billion in EU and national resources. Of this amount, 82 percent will go to the provincial regions. «Greece is changing gear… Emphasis will be given to improving entrepreneurship, to education, youth, the integration of new technologies and innovation in the productive and social fabric, effective protection of the environment and the completion of a broader infrastructure framework,» he said. The NSRF will include the extension of the natural gas network, integrated plans for the management of natural habitats, anti-flood protection and the management of solid and hazardous waste, Alogoskoufis said. Deputy Economy Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said, «Our aim is not to share out money, but to ensure that our country will be in a position to produce more national wealth and value for everyone.» Separately, Alogoskoufis met with Bank of Greece Governor Nikos Garganas, who briefed him on the central bank’s forthcoming annual report. «The Economy Ministry and the central bank have a common view on international economic developments,» Garganas told reporters. Earlier, an Economy Ministry source said the rally in oil prices posed a great degree of uncertainty and concern regarding the Greek economy. The central bank report is expected to lower the country’s projected growth rate from 3.7 percent to 3.5 percent, while inflation is seen as coming in higher than the government’s 3.5 percent. Garganas said earlier yesterday that the impact of global financial turmoil on Greek banks would be «indirect and relatively limited,» adding, however, that the end of the crisis was perhaps still far off.

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