ECOFIN adopted today Friday a Text of Conclusions, in which it is recognized the contribution of the Recovery and Resilience Fund in the recovery of the European economy from the pandemic, the acceleration of the digital and green transition, as well as in the promotion of critical reforms.

In his intervention, the Minister of National Economy and Finance, Kostis Hatzidakis, stressed that the Recovery Fund made it possible to make investments, which would not have been done or would have been done with a long delay. He pointed out that these investments had a positive impact on the European economy as a whole and not only on the beneficiary countries. He also evaluated as particularly positive the fact that the funding is linked to reforms agreed between the European Commission and the member states.

Regarding Greece in particular, Mr. Hatzidakis emphasized that our country receives the largest financial package, in relation to its GDP, while it is a champion in implementation, as it has received an amount of 14.9 billion euros to date, i.e. 41% of the total program, while the European average is at 30% and has completed 23% of the milestones against a European average of 17%. He also said that by the end of May the Greek government plans to make two additional payment requests for €2.3 billion in loans and €1 billion in grants, as it has already completed 18 of the 20 milestones required. The Minister said that “the implementation of the TAA is an unprecedented process for all member states, as they have to absorb in a few years many European financial resources, even in combination with the NSRF. The difficulties identified in the European Commission’s report, which concern all Member States, such as the lack of flexibility and more administrative work than initially expected, must be tackled horizontally. And this must be combined with the necessary controls both at national and European level”.

However, Mr. Hatzidakis noted “his closest similar project Recovery Fund in Europe is the Marshall Plan. Very few would argue that the Marshall Plan was not a success, and I am optimistic that the same will be true of the Recovery Fund in the future.”

The participation of the European Investment Bank was also discussed in the financing of defense investments. The President of the EIB, Nadia Calvino, presented the relevant framework of proposals. Mr. Hatzidakis noted that Greece firmly believes that defense should be a priority area for the European Union. Therefore, the Greek government supports the relevant proposals of the EIB, and believes that they will contribute to strengthening our common goals in a particularly turbulent period.

In the discussion held within the framework of the Eurogroup, regarding the competitiveness of the European economy, Mr. Hatzidakis pointed out that the escalation of economic competition between the US and China and the resulting reduction in world trade particularly affects the European economy, which is comparatively more open .

In this context, he emphasized that alongside policies aimed at increasing productivity, actions should also be undertaken at the international level, with the aim of reducing existing strategic dependencies. “Even if we have the most competitive and highest quality products, if important global markets are closed to us due to trade barriers we will not be able to sell them. It is therefore of great importance to strengthen the political power of the EU internationally. The political power it has today is not enough. A new mindset is required on our part, emphasizing the European rather than the national dimension. In terms of the international economy and geopolitics, clearly our power is greater when we act collectively,” concluded the Greek Minister.