PM justifies subsidies to EC

In a letter to the European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has explained Greece?s plan for making use of EU subsidies to boost sluggish growth.

According to daily Ta Nea, Papademos refers in his letter to the delays of the past few years in the absorption of EU subsidies in Greece. But the premier highlights recent progress in this area, noting that 181 projects have been prioritized. Skai understands that Hahn?s office agrees with Papademos? assessment and is waiting to see concrete results.

In his letter, Papademos notes that certain half-finished projects from the period 2000 to 2006, which will cost Greece 3 billion euros in fines if they remain incomplete, have resumed and will be concluded soon. The premier adds that there has been ?significant progress? in efforts to curb bureaucracy.

The creation of a special fund providing 500 million euros in guarantees for small and medium-sized businesses is to be up and running in the middle of March while efforts are being made to cover funding gaps in contracts for road projects in association with the European Investment Bank.

As for waste management and the closure of illegal landfills ? an area where Greece has lagged seriously behind EU standards ? nearly 80 percent of alternative sites have been assessed for funding, Papademos wrote.