EU-funded recovery plan to usher new version of Greece, PM Mitsotakis says

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Greece’s European Union-funded 32 billion-euro recovery plan will mobilise additional private-sector money for investments in green energy, digitalisation, health and education, boosting growth and jobs, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday.

Under a multi-billion-euro coronavirus recovery package agreed by EU leaders last year, Athens is to get 19.4 billion euros in grants and 12.7 billion euros in cheap loans in coming years, equal to about 16% of its gross domestic product.

“The funds of the EU Recovery Fund were won not to be spent but to be invested,” Mitsotakis said. “Greece 2.0 will be the new version of the country in the coming era.”

Under last year’s EU agreement, the European Commission will be allowed to raise up to 750 billion euros on capital markets and pass on the money to member states worst hit by the pandemic through payments linked to jointly agreed reform and investment plans, partly as grants and partly as loans.

Mitsotakis reiterated that the recovery plan can add up to seven percentage points to Greek GDP over six years, on top of the natural growth rate of the economy, and create 200,000 jobs.

The plan, encompassing about 170 projects, is set to render the country’s economy more outward looking, more digitalised and with a tax system friendly to growth, he said.

It is expected to get added leverage from the private sector via equity capital and loans, meaning total funds for investments will be increased to nearly 60 billion euros.

Mitsotakis cited investment projects in reforestation, renewable energy, electric public transport, protecting biodiversity, upgrading irrigation networks and power connectivity from islands to the mainland.

He said the plan would also include investments to upgrade public hospitals and a museum to showcase maritime archaeology in Piraeus, the country’s main port city.

“The marathon tape will be cut when all of the funds will be absorbed. The effort will mean more wealth and jobs for all,” Mitsotakis said.

The recovery plan will head to parliament for debate before it is submitted to Brussels before a deadline at the end of April.

Main Photo: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis EPA-EFE/COSTAS BALTAS/POOL

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