12 October, 2006
An overwhelming 82 percent of the funds that Greece will receive from the EU's Fourth Community Support Framework (CSF) will be earmarked for regions outside the capital, while only the remaining 18 percent will go to Attica, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis announced after a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The Cabinet, chaired by Karamanlis, met Wednesday with the distribution of the 4th CSF funds as the exclusive item on the agenda.
The premier noted that, after long and tough negotiations, the total CSF funding package for the country amounted to 36.4 billion euros and would be drawn from the 4th CSF, which covers the period 2007-2013, EU structural funds and other financial instruments.
The funds secured for Greece from the EU's three Structural Funds came to 20.4 billion euros while, together with the funds to be received from the agricultural development and the fisheries financing instruments, the EU's overall participation in the 4th CSF funding to Greece was 24.4 billion euros. Adding the national participation in the funding, the total CSF sum for Greece was 36.4 billion euros, Karamanlis clarified.
Of that total, the prime minister continued, 42 percent would be channeled to infrastructure development, 21 percent to innovation, digital convergence and competitiveness, 12 percent to employment, 14 percent to the education sector and 4 percent to health.
Apart from the above funds, which were dedicated to structural measures, Greece would also be receiving additional funds from agricultural subsidies up until 2013 under the new CAP, amounting to 18 billion euros.
"In other words, the agricultural population will have a total of 22 billion euros at its disposal. We can also draw an additional sum of about 2.3 billion euros from the 7th Research and Innovation Framework Program," the prime minister pointed out.
Karamanlis said that utilization of the CSF resources would guarantee competitiveness and dynamic growth, stressing that management of the resources would be conducted with transparency and efficiency.
The premier also emphasized that the government had specific economic and social goals, as well as a plan for achieving them.
"We are already following a concerted plan of changes and reforms to the structures of the state and the economy, to education and to health. We have established a new developmental model and are continuing the reforms required for its improvement," he said.
Regarding the work being done in regional areas, Karamanlis stressed that the government's goal was to diffuse development to all sectors of the economy and all regions in the country:
"Our ultimate goal is constant growth of the domestic product produced, the creation of new jobs and to ensure an increasing social dividend to support the economically weaker," the premier said.
Referring to the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSFR) for 2007-2013, Karamanlis said that this was the result of hard work and a carefully coordinated effort by the finance ministry, as well as unprecedented levels of collaboration with Greece's EU partners, and stressed that making full use of this was a "national challenge".
"It is the government's unswerving wish, as well as that of all the EU partners I believe, to not repeat the mistakes and omissions of the past, which came at such a high cost," he emphasized.
To this end, the NSRF had been given a more flexible and simplified form with fewer programs but better implementation structures, he added.
Addressing his government, Karamanlis called for maximum speed, efficiency but also transparency in the handling of the Community funds flowing into Greece.
"Your choices must be informed by contemporary views on development, they must ensure autonomous and executive management and guarantee efficient decentralization of their execution to a few and capable bodies," he stressed.
He also underlined the government's determination to continue reforming the long-term weaknesses of the state in order to provide better services to citizens and businesses, constantly improve the developmental model and increase support to the regions along the lines of the Lisbon Strategy.
Source: Athens News Agency