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01 August, 2000
The Greek government's structural program for the period 2000-2006 will total 17.5 trillion drachmas, with the participation of the private sector estimated at 4 trillion drachmas, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Monday.
Papantoniou said that 80 percent of total funds would be earmarked for regional projects in the country.
Presenting the government's plan to reporters, Papantoniou said that the structural program, and the Third Community Support Framework in particular, would create 150,000 net new jobs in the country.
"With our EMU entry we achieved nominal convergence. We created a strong base for stability and growth. The Third Community Support Framework is a growth tool to achieve real convergence with the EU," he said.
Papantoniou said the government's plan was aiming to achieving a balanced convergence in the country, with the participation of all regions.
"We are completing productive infrastructures, the basic productive factor of the economy. These include road and rail networks, both improving the country's access to big European markets. Our products will have speedier access with lower cost, they will become more competitive. Tourism will also benefit and we expect the private sector to participate in full force not only in the construction but in the funding of such projects as well," he said.
Papantoniou said the structural program also envisaged measures to improve the country's competitiveness, restructuring of the farm sector, supporting the country's transition into the new economy and ensuring the improvement of living standards.
The program also includes measures to upgrade the country's workforce and supporting regional Greece through the implementation of integrated regional programs.
Papantoniou said that the government planned to raise funds from other community sources, such as the Cohesion Fund and the Community Initiatives (Urban, Interreg, Leader, Equal).
"We will achieve growth rates of 5.0 percent annually. We will reach 80 percent of the EU's average income by the end of 2006 and we will be equal by the end of the decade. Employment will significantly increase with more than 300,000 new jobs expected to be created," Papantoniou told reporters.
He said the government planned to implemented stricter monitoring mechanisms for a more efficient management of the program.
Source: Athens News Agency