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Brussels, 26 July 2000

Structural Funds: the Commission approves the Community Support Framework for the regions of Greece (Objective 1) for 2000-2006

The Commission today adopted a decision in principle approving the Community Support Framework (CSF) for Greece for the next seven years. This agreement is the framework for a series of programmes to develop the Greek economy, costing a total of € 44.29 billion. Approximately half of this amount (€ 22.71 billion) will come from the European Union budget; the balance will be funded almost equally by the Greek public sector (€ 11.20 billion) and the private sector (€ 10.38 billion). The Community contribution comes from the 3 Structural Funds. The final agreement will be signed by the Greek authorities and by the European Commissioner, Michel Barnier, during his forthcoming visit to Athens.

This decision in principle is one of a series that the Commission is currently taking to launch the new programming period for the Structural Funds (2000-06)

Presenting this decision, Michel Barnier, the European Commissioner with responsibility for regional policy, declared: "This Community Support Framework is essential for Greece's continued economic and social development. It consolidates and reinforces the country's remarkable development, made possible by Greece's unprecedented efforts to join Economic and Monetary Union and by the two previous Community Support Frameworks (1989-99). The CSF III will accompany the important structural reforms started by Greece. It will help the country to make real progress on convergence and cohesion, through its emphasis on improving the competitiveness of the economy".

The Community Support Framework will provide assistance under the follow priority headings:

  • Better human skills levels through significant efforts on education, training and employment, with a view to encouraging the "knowledge society".

  • Continued efforts to complete the main communications infrastructure (road, railway and urban).

  • Increased competitiveness of industry and services, small and medium-sized enterprises in particular, which form the backbone of productive activity in Greece. A wide range of assistance is planned to this end, for example in the fields of financial engineering and the dissemination of innovation.

  • Improved competitiveness, better quality agriculture and support for the development of rural areas, as well as rationalisation and development of the fisheries sector.

  • Improved quality of life for the country's citizens, covering the environment (management of natural resources, water and waste treatment), culture and health.

  • Measures to promote citizen access to the information society in all fields, but especially education, the public service, the economy and employment.

  • Measures to promote balanced development of the regions and national cohesion, through the implementation of regional programmes for the country's thirteen regions. To this end, the share of Community assistance provided through the regional programmes will be increased compared to the previous programming period.

Both the Commission and the Greek authorities are fully aware that this CSF III represents a management challenge. The Structural Funds Regulation requires Greece to introduce appropriate structures quickly, notably to manage the controls of the monitoring and evaluation of the CSF and the ensuing operational programmes. Ultimate success will depend to a great extent on the effectiveness of this management and, consequently, on the quality of the procedures and persons in charge. Moreover, the Greek authorities have already communicated the list of areas to be designated under the Habitats Directive and have undertaken not to let these sites degenerate during work on the projects.

The Community Support Framework is financed by the four Structural Funds, the ERDF being the responsibility of Mr Barnier, the EAGGF and FIFG being the responsibility of Mr Fischler, Commissioner with responsibility for agriculture and fisheries, and the ESF being the responsibility of Mrs Diamantopoulou, Commissioner with responsibility for employment and social affairs. 68.5% of the funding comes from the ERDF, 19.9% from the ESF, 10.6% from the EAGGF and 1.0% from the FIFG.

The final decision on the Community Support Framework will be taken by the Commission after consultation with the committees laid down in the Structural Funds Regulation1(1). Actual programming under the CSF will be carried out gradually during 2000.

For any additional information (map of the areas concerned, programmes for the period 1994-1999), please go to:

(1)1The European Commission's decision in principle on Greece has to be transmitted for opinions to four Consultative Committees made up of representatives of the Member States: the "Committee on the Development and Conversion of Regions", the Committee pursuant to Article 147 of the Treaty (ESF), the Committee on Agricultural Structures and Rural Development and the Committee on Structures for Fisheries and Aquaculture.

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