European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen ratified the Greek Recovery and Resilience Plan, “Greece 2.0,” in a festive ceremony on Thursday with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis against the backdrop of the Ancient Agora of Athens. The implementation of the plan, which foresees a package of more than 30 billion euros for Greece spread over the coming years, starts next July when the first tranche of 4.7 billion euros will be disbursed.
More specifically, over the next five years, Greece will receive €30.5 billion from the European Union’s recovery fund (NextGenerationEU): €17.8 billion in grants and €12.7 billion in loans.
Von der Leyen was in Athens as part of her tour of EU member-states to present the approved national action plans for economic recovery after the pandemic.
During his statements, Mitsotakis stressed that “Greece is one of the beneficiary countries” of the EU’s recovery undertaking, emphasizing the plaudits the Greek plan has received.
Mitsotakis referred to the “kickoff of a huge effort,” with most of the plan’s resources allocated to the green and digital economies.
Addressing concerns raised mainly by opposition parties, whether the plan will reach a wide range of citizens and criticisms that it will only benefit the few, as Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday in Parliament, Mitsotakis said, “This program extends to the last corner of our country, touching all Greeks.” “[It is] a complete plan that is the image of the new Greece,” he added.
For her part, von der Leyen made special reference to being at “the cradle of democracy and philosophy” and said that Greece 2.0 will “transform the economy” and “prepare the country for the future.”
With its implementation, Greece will carry out structural reforms and will “come out stronger than ever” and “more prepared for the future,” she continued, describing the plan as “ambitious and long-term.”
Von der Leyen said NextGenerationEU is “the largest since the Marshall Plan,” adding that the EU and member-states have a lot of “hard work” ahead of them to implement their national plans.
She said the world was living through critical times, after the difficult months of the pandemic, noting the positive points, such as vaccinations and economic recovery which allows for more optimism.