European Commission congratulates Greece on post-Covid-19 progress


European Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni. Photo © European Union – Source: PE

Greece is moving faster towards near pre-Covid-19 growth crisis levels, said the European Commissioner for the Economy Paul Gentiloni during a two-day virtual event this week hosted by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE).

Gentiloni joins Greek Minister of Finance Christos Staikouras and Managing Director of IOBE Nikos Vettas during a round table on Wednesday entitled “Greece and the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility”, which focused on the ways in which national resilience plan “Greece 2.0Can turn the coronavirus crisis into an opportunity.

The Commissioner congratulated Greece for the progress so far which included reducing unemployment and exceeding expectations, adding that Europe had also made significant progress since last summer thanks in large part to the rollout of vaccination.

The commissioner said Greece was one of the first countries to submit a plan to use EU stimulus funds and to get approval.

“This demonstrates the quality of the Greek plan and the perfect cooperation with the Commission services. The Greek plan will give new impetus to the economy and increase the country’s development prospects, ”he said.

Photo source: @European Commission

Photo source: @European Commission

He went on to refer to the latest Commission report on enhanced surveillance, which he said confirms that Greece has taken all necessary steps to meet its commitments, including moving forward with privatizations such as the Hellinikon project. He added that this was “very good news” paving the way for Greece’s final exit from enhanced surveillance.

The Commissioner was quick to point out, however, that the priority now is to ensure that EU stimulus funds are effectively managed and channeled.

For his part, Finance Minister Staikouras spoke of the importance of Europe’s immediate response to the pandemic, adding that crucial decisions have been taken create a safety net for states, employees and businesses.

“Europe is recovering faster than expected,” Staikouras said, demonstrating that “policy coordination between EU member states is of vital importance”.

Greek Minister of Finance Christos Staikouras. Photo source: @cstaikouras

He underlined the need at national and European level to explore ways to introduce a central fiscal stabilization capacity this could include risk-sharing benefits for all member states and the EU as a whole “cushioning the impact of downturns on economic activity and employment”.

Staikouras adds that a tool like this could support the most vulnerable segments of society and help reduce inequalities and poverty.

Finally, the Greek minister said Greece was committed to finalizing the EU Banking Union.

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