Greece expects first tranche of EU stimulus funds by August
ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece is awaiting the first tranche of around € 4 billion ($ 4.7 billion) of a European Union stimulus fund by August, the deputy minister said on Saturday of Finance Theodore Skylakakis, ahead of the official presentation of a national plan next week.
As part of the multibillion-euro recovery plan against the coronavirus agreed by EU leaders last year, Greece is to get € 19.4 billion in grants and € 12.7 billion in good loans market over the next few years, or about 16% of its gross domestic product.
“We are expecting an amount of around € 4 billion in July or August,” Skylakakis told local ANT1 television.
Athens plans to devote more than half of the total allocation to green energy and digitization projects, including connecting the islands to the continental electricity grid, 5G grids and infrastructure for electric cars.
Greece, which saw its national production fall by about a quarter during a decade of financial turmoil, emerged from recession in 2017. Its economy contracted 8.2% in 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus epidemic but the government expects a 4% rebound this year.
“This money is for investments only. This is not for hiring or recurring expenses, ”said Skylakakis, adding that he will present the national stimulus plan to the Council of Ministers on Monday before it is submitted to Brussels in early April.
Under last year’s EU deal, the European Commission will be allowed to raise up to € 750 billion in capital markets and transfer the money to the member states most affected by the pandemic through payments linked to jointly agreed reform and investment plans, partly in the form of grants and partly in the form of loans.
The Commission expects the first installments of the package to be paid during the summer.
Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Mike Harrison