European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will be visiting Athens on Thursday as part of her NextGenerationEU tour aimed at assessing member states’ recovery plans and whether they are ready to start accepting EU Digital Covid Certificates.
The Commission president will be visiting Portugal, Spain, Greece, Denmark, and Luxembourg this week after holding “very intense dialogue with national governments” and completing assessment of several national recovery and resilience plans.
Von der Leyen, who will be visiting Athens after the evaluation of Greece’s recovery and resilience plan, is expected to announce when the funds will released.
On Wednesday Von der Leyen said that the Commission raised 20 billion euros in the capital markets by issuing a 10-year bond. The raised amount will go into the EU’s recovery fund known as “NextGenerationEU” to help member states recover from the Covid-19 health crisis.
The disbursement of NextGenerationEU support is expected in July or August for plans that have already be assessed.
Once the Commission approves Greece’s national recovery plan dubbed “Ellada 2.0”, the country is expected to receive approximately 4 billion euros and an additional 1.7 billion euros from the REACT EU program. This year, Greece hopes to get 7.8 billion euros in recovery funding.
“Today’s deal confirms that Europe is attractive. By the end of this year, we expect to have issued around 100 billion euros in bonds and bills. This will enable us to fund all planned grants and loans for member states this year,” she said.
With regard to the Covid-19 certificate, von der Leyen said she hoped “it can be verified in all the countries I’ll visit. I downloaded my EU Digital Cοvid Certificate. Half of EU countries are already connected. More and more people get the certificate. Get yours too”, she said via her twitter account on Wednesday before starting her tour.
Von der Leyen confirmed on Wednesday that the certificate will go into force on July 1 but EU states can start accepting the digital document earlier if they wish.
“I am very curious to check and see how this certificate works,” she said ahead of her trip to Spain today. On Thursday, she visits Greece and Denmark, and Luxembourg on Friday.