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Greece Seeking Ways to Put Covid-19 Recovery Funds to Good Use

Hellenic Parliament, Athens

Investments and reforms should be the top priority when considering the allocation of Greece’s recovery funds, said Alternate Finance Minister Theodore Skylakakis during the ongoing Thessaloniki Helexpo Forum.

Skylakakis stressed that putting the funds to strategic use was vital, particularly at this “unique and historic moment”.

“Whatever we put into the fund has to succeed,” he said, adding that timeframes are limited and adjustment difficult.

Skylakakis was referring to a total of 70 billion euros in EU rescue funds secured by Greece to address the repercussions of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic from a 750-billion-euro recovery plan agreed on in Brussels in July.

Greece is expected to submit a draft of its national plan for the use of the funding to the European Commission on October 15 with the aim of finalizing its strategy 1 January 2021.

“The primary [goal] of the fund is to have the maximum growth impact. It will mobilize to the maximum degree private resources,” he said, adding that funding plans cannot change.

“Adjustment can only be made once, at the end of 2022, based on the revision of funding each country will receive. Changes will be extremely difficult, which means that everything we put into this fund will have to succeed,” Skylakakis said.

Meanwhile, speaking at the same event, Union of Hellenic Chambers President Konstantinos Mihalos proposed converting the Hellenic Development Bank into a basic vehicle for the utilization of resources allocated through the recovery fund.

Describing the funds as a “negotiation success”, Mihalos underlined that Greece must “learn from mistakes of the past. The resources of the recovery fund should not be used to cover structural problems of the Greek economy, fueling short-lived consumption, but to aim at the productive transformation of the economy by investing in high value-added and extroverted sectors”.

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