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A new start for jobs and growth in Greece

Commission mobilises more than €35 billion from the EU budget for Greece

Two days after an agreement paving the way for a new support programme for Greece, the European Commission revealed plans today to help Greece maximise its use of EU funds. As mandated by the Euro Summit on 12/13 July, this will help mobilise more than €35 billion up to 2020 to support the Greek economy, provided that the conditions agreed upon by the Euro Summit will be met.

The Jobs and Growth Plan for Greece is meant to flank the comprehensive set of reforms that could form part of a programme under the European Stability Mechanism to be negotiated in the coming weeks between Greece and its international partners. Both elements – the reforms and the mobilisation of funds for investment and cohesion – are essential preconditions for restoring jobs and growth in Greece and returning the country to prosperity.

The Jobs and Growth Plan will help to invest in people and companies in Greece. It is a continuation of the support the Commission has already provided to Greece throughout the crisis, both in terms of financial support and technical assistance. 

As an exceptional measure and in light of the unique situation of Greece, the Commission proposes to improve immediate liquidity so that investments can still be funded in the 2007-2013 programming period. These will include early release of the last 5% of remaining EU payments normally retained until the closure of the programmes and applying a 100% co-financing rate for the 2007-2013 period. This would translate into immediate additional liquidity of some €500 million and a saving for the Greek budget of around €2 billion. This money will be available to immediately resume financing for investments supporting growth and job. It is conditional on the Greek authorities ensuring that these additional funds are fully used for the beneficiaries and operations under the programmes.. The Commission will also propose to increase the rate of initial pre-financing for programmes for 2014-2020 in Greece by 7 percentage points.

This extra pre-financing can make an additional €1 billion available to be used only for the launch of the projects co-financed under the cohesion policy in full compliance with Article 81 (2) of the Common Provision Regulation.

Greece has already benefited from preferential treatment: Greek programmes financed with EU funds in 2007-2013 receive a higher proportion of EU financing. Therefore, Greece is required to co-finance less than many other countries via a 10% "top up" of EU co-financing until mid-2016. In many cases, this means that the EU pays for 95% of the total investment cost under the 2007-2013 financing period (as opposed to the maximum of 85% otherwise applicable).

In addition, for cohesion policy, provided all conditions are met, the Greek authorities can still continue to be reimbursed up to the regulatory 95% ceiling for eligible expenditure made on 2007-2013 programmes.

Today´s Communication follows the setting up of a High-Level Group under the leadership of Vice-President Dombrovskis. Together with the Greek authorities, this Group aims to ensure that all the money available from the 2007-2013 programming period is used before it expires at the end of the year, and to help Greece meet the requirements to access all EU Funds available to it in 2014-2020.

Greece will also continue to benefit from technical support for reforms and implementation from the Commission´s new Structural Reform Support Service, which began its work on 1 July and builds on the valuable experience of the Task Force for Greece and other technical assistance provided to Member States.

The Investment Plan for Europe can play a crucial role for jobs and growth in Greece. The new European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) will benefit commercially viable investment projects in Greece. The new European Investment Advisory Hub will provide targeted outreach activities and assistance to help investors, project promoters, authorities and SMEs to construct projects that are likely to be eligible for EFSI-financing. Assistance will also be available on how to combine EFSI-financing with the EU´s Structural and Investment Fund.

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