Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis outlined the priority areas that will benefit from a new round of EU funding known as ESPA during a conference earlier this month in Kalamata.
The two-day event officially launched the new programing period for the Corporate Regional Development Pact (NSRF) 2021-2027, which was approved last summer by the European Commission.
“Greece is no longer the black sheep of Europe. We are not laggards in developments, we can become protagonists and we will succeed,” said Mitsotakis during his address in Kalamata, announcing that 80 billion euros would be secured for Greece in the coming years.
The prime minister went on to add that one-third of the new NSRF will be channeled into the regions to finance regional projects, adding that Greece has played a leading role in the absorption of EU funds in recent years.
“Our planning focuses on the direction [of funds] and the responsibility of management, and one-third of the NSRF is scheduled to go towards regional projects. These exceed 8 billion euros in total,” he said.
The initial funds – 26.2 billion euros in total, 20.9 billion euros of which provided by the EU – will be channeled into a series of key projects including infrastructure, human resources and upskilling, civil protection, digital transformation, fair development, innovative and extroverted entrepreneurship, transport, climate change actions, water management actions, energy efficiency, integration of vulnerable social groups, health and mental health, quality education of young people, and integrated spatial development.
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, Development & Investments Minister Adonis Georgiadis, Peloponnese Region Governor Panagiotis Nikas, and EU Commissioner for Promoting our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas also participated in the conference.
In July last year, the European Commission approved the Greek Partnership Agreement for 2021-2027 which will allocate approximately 21 billion euros to the country for investments and social programs. Greece was the first EU country to have submitted its plan to the Commission.
“Greece is the first country in the EU to have approved programs that will be implemented in the coming days and the first country to have funds disbursed from the new programing period in 2022,” said Georgiadis during the event.
The minister added that funding will be allocated to all of Greece’s regions to support growth and innovation, underlining that it is up to local authorities to carefully plan and absorb the funds quickly.
The five key areas to be covered by the new round of ESPA funds as discussed at the conference are: entrepreneurship, public infrastructure upgrades, strengthening social development and social cohesion, spatial planning, green investments for a sustainable future.
Referring to the importance of the funding for tourism, Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) President Angela Gerekou said the ESPA funds were a significant opportunity for the sector, particularly in the post-Covid-19 era.
Gerekou said that besides driving the sector’s recovery, the funds will set the conditions for a new tourism model focused on quality, sustainability, accessibility, innovation, digital transformation, green and blue growth, and balanced geographical development that takes into account the carrying capacity of each destination.