Athens was the third leg of the European tour which started on Wednesday in Lisbon and Madrid by the President of the EC
The European Commission (EC) approved Thursday recovery and resilience plan from Greece for a total of 30,500 million euros, with which the Conservative government Kyriakos Mitsotakis aspires to give a strong impetus to the economy and job creation after the covid pandemic.
Athens was the third leg of the European tour which started on Wednesday in Lisbon and Madrid by the President of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen to approve the national recovery plans of this ambitious project, the total volume of which amounts to 800,000 million euros over the five-year period 2021-2026.
Von der Leyen attended, with Mitsotakis, an iconic event held at the Agora of Athens, the political and social center of ancient Athens, where the Greek government presented its investment plan “Greece 2.0” with which he hopes to increase the gross domestic product by seven percentage points and create about dand 200,000 jobs until 2026.
Green and digital economy
“The plan is ambitious, with a vision for the future… It was designed in Greece and will be implemented by the Greeks”, “it will make Greece stronger than ever”, Von der Leyen said after announcing his approval of such a historic setting.
The President of the EC welcomed the green and digital economy objectives – in particular the digitalization of SMEs and local government – and was convinced that as a whole it would contribute to the creation of many jobs sustainable.
Out of a total of 30,500 million euros – 17,800 in grants and 12,700 in loans – the first installment for this year, expected in July if the Council of the EU gives its final approval, amounts to 7.8 billion.
Mitsotakis was convinced that once the recovery plan is launched, he will be able to mobilize a lot of private capital, so that the final amount could even reach 100,000 million euros.
“We are living through the last act of uncertainty created by the pandemic, which is at the same time the first act of a new era. The European Union has achieved the first joint debt issue in favor of its Member States”, underlined the Greek Prime Minister, who recalled that what seemed impossible (the common question) has become part of the present and the future.
The Greece 2.0 plan includes major public investments in the green economy and digital transformation, two terms imposed by Brussels.
For the green transition, 38% of the total amount will be allocated, one percentage point above the minimum required, while digital will get 22% of the funds, two points more than necessary.
There will be significant investments in infrastructureparticularly in the installation of 5G networks; the energy connection of the islands with the mainland of the country; the Energy Storage, but also in motorways and in the modernization of the country’s rail network, one of the most obsolete in the European Union.
The digitization of the public sector, where significant progress has been made in the last ten years, is another pillar of public investment. A significant part of the funds will be used to create jobs and improve the professional skills of workers.