ATHENS – Backed by 32 billion euros ($36.98 billion) in European Union loans and grants, Greece is on a course to come back economically after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
“Today, I am honored to announce that the Commission has given the green light for Greece’s National Recovery Plan, a plan which belongs to the Greek people and will transform the Greek economy,” von der Leyen said at the Ancient Agora.
She was with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, presenting the country’s Recovery and Resilience Plan, dubbed Greece 2.0,” said Kathimerini and added that the plan will “prepare the country for the future”.
She was on a swing of EU countries who are getting subsidies to help them recover as well from the effect of pandemic lockdowns that shut down non-essential businesses for months.
She said the aid means Greece can carry out structural reforms and will “come out stronger than ever,” describing the plan as “ambitious and longterm,” in the usual diplomatic platitudes.
Von der Leyen said the NextGenerationEU is “the largest since the Marshall Plan,” adding that the EU and member-states still have to implement recovery plans while Mitsotakis said the plan will be “the last act of the turmoil caused by the pandemic and the first of a new era.”
“This program extends to the last corner of our country, touching all Greeks. It creates a complete plan. It also corresponds to the symbolism of ‘Greece 2.0’ — it is the next version of the country. It is the image of the new Greece,” he said at the presentation.
Funds from NextGenerationEU will be channelled into the green and digital transition, employment, developing skills and social cohesion, and finally private investment and institutional transformation, he said, the paper reporeted.
The European Council, made up of the heads of states of the 27 countries, will have four weeks to review the rubber-stamped plan and then sign off, which would open the door for Greece getting a first disbursement of 4 billion euros ($4.77 billion) for use.