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Economy

Gentiloni: First Disbursement from the Recovery Fund Before End of July

BRUSSELS — Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni sent a message to all EU member states that support for economies should continue in 2021 and 2022.

Asked if Greece will have to return to primary surplus targets in 2023, European Commissioner Gentiloni, in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) on Thursday, said that the new approach to fiscal rules will also affect Greece.

"Of course Greece differs in that it's under surveillance," he noted, but just as the primary surplus target was not retained during the activation of the general escape clause, so will what happens from 2023 onwards be linked to the common European decisions.

He added, however, that the commitments of the Greek authorities in all aspects of the programme must be fully implemented.

Commenting on the 10th enhanced surveillance report, he said: "We have good news in some parts of the programme that were implemented, but also some delays that should be addressed. We are quite satisfied with the new insolvency framework and we hope that delays, such as in overdue public debts, for example, will be overcome."

Regarding Greece's recovery and resilience plan, which is second in line of those submitted to the European Commission, Paolo Gentiloni said that the principle of "first-come, first served" will apply, meaning that Greece's plan will be one of the first to be evaluated by the Commission.

He expressed the certainty that "despite the very tight schedule", the first disbursements from the Recovery Fund will be made before the summer holidays, ie before the end of July. In the coming weeks in June, the Commission will issue bonds in the financial markets. "I am optimistic about the radical success of this issue," he said.

Moreover, Gentiloni said that it was positive that Greece and Italy have requested the full amount in loans they are entitled to receive from the Recovery Fund. The two countries will benefit from the Commission's favourable interest rates more than the others and are the only ones to have applied for all the loans. Six other countries have applied to use the Recovery Fund loans, but not the full amount they are entitled to. According to the Commissioner, there are two reasons: first, because they can decide by August 2023, and second, because there is caution due to the complexity of the reform and investment plans. By contrast, 19 countries are making use of SURE loans because they are easily linked to existing employment support plans. Nevertheless, the total amount of loans requested from the 360 billion euros available from the RRF has so far reached two thirds, the Commissioner clarified.

(ANA/ M. Aroni)

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