After more than a decade marked by economic and financial crises, Greece is looking to rebuild its economy with a plan to spend billions of euros from the EU’s post-pandemic recovery fund, and in the process of transforming industrial models, attracting foreign investment and repairing public finance.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the prime minister of Greece, has hailed the program, known as “Greece 2.0”, as a program that “fundamentally changed the paradigm of Greek economymaking it competitive and outgoing ”.
It happened when Greece was looking to recover from the coronavirus pandemic that had severely impacted the country’s economy. depends on travel and service, especially difficult. In 2020, output will decrease by 10%, while national debt as a proportion of gross domestic product increases by over 200%, the highest in the eurozone.
However, some observers worry about Greece’s poor performance in policy provision and the best possible use of the money it will receive from its recovery fund.
Greece 2.0 will be submitted for final approval to Brussels early next week. Officials will scrutinize its 2,000 pages, which detail how the government will spend 31 billion euros from the EU and another 27 billion euros expected from investors over the next six years.
The submission will be the culmination of six months of work, during which Greek officials have held more than 100 meetings with their counterparts at the European Commission.
“The Greek plan is one of the best we’ve ever seen so far,” an EU official said. The master plan, based on a growth strategy designed by Nobel Prize-winning economist Christopher Pissarides, is one of the strictest of the plans, the official added. submit.
Greece appeared after eight years of international bailout in 2018, but the country is still on a “intensified surveillance” system designed by the commission to ensure that Athens meets its agreed deficit targets. Although the way the bailout package is managed by the commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank – collectively known as the “troika” – are unpopular in Greece, some in Brussels have argued that the deal is already in place. benefit the country.
“The program’s experience has been of great help,” said the EU official, who pointed out that the commission has been working closely with Greek authorities for more than a decade.
The pouring money into the EU will provide an opportunity for Greece to implement reforms previously hampered by its poor public finances. For example, the implementation of Greece 2.0 will see a significant amount of capital injected into e-governance and digitization of the public sector.
Under the plan, 57% of the funding will be used for digital transformation and green transformation projects. Among the measures envisaged are creating 5G infrastructure, improving the connection of Greek islands to the terrestrial grid, digitizing tax services and retraining, or “enhancing workmanship ”for the workforce.
The plan also sets out the ambitious goal of increasing Greece’s GDP by 7% and creating 180,000 jobs by 2026.
Maria Demertzis, deputy director of the Bruegel thought organization in Brussels, said: “Greece 2.0 is a comprehensive, ambitious and modern plan as far as what promises. “But it is still a promise, as the deployment and absorption of EU funds has always been an issue. I hope this time Greece will do better ”.
Mitsotakis and his advisers took responsibility for the project, with Finance Minister replacing Theodoros Skylakakis in the lead. He said he was aware of the challenges posed by the traditional failures of the Greek public sector.
“This is both an historic opportunity and the only challenge because we must change the efficiency and culture of the state to be successful. It won’t be an easy task, but we believe in our plans and the future of the country, ”Skylakakis said.