The European Commission today (15 July) said that it had reached a deal with the Greek government to increase EU co-financing of cohesion funds to help spur economic recovery. The agreement will save the Greek government €440 million this year and €2.1 billion by 2013.
Johannes Hahn, the European commissioner for regional policy, and Mihalis Chrysohoïdis, the Greek minister for regional development, yesterday agreed on several measures to speed up the approval of EU co-funded projects.
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Cutting red tape
The Commission has agreed to increase the EU’s contribution to the projects from 79% to 85%, while the Greek government has pledged to cut red tape in approving projects. Chrysohoïdis has said that the government will introduce legislation to make application and approval procedures for projects easier.
The plan is to inject much needed funds into the Greek economy to help fuel job creation and economic recovery.
Greece can draw from a total of €20.2bn in cohesion funds from the EU set aside for Greece under the current financial programme. Only €4.9bn has been spent so far, said Ton Van Lierop, a Commission spokesman.
Van Lierop said some changes to current programmes would have to be made as a result of the deal. “This can be dealt with in a short period, in the weeks and months to come, to ensure money can be invested quicker in the Greek economy,” he said.