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European Commission - Press release

Commission's Task Force for Greece progresses rapidly with technical assistance actions

Brussels, 13 October 2011 - The Task Force for Greece organised its first high level coordination meeting on Wednesday 12 October with the Greek authorities, Member States and international organisations offering technical assistance to Greece.. Based on issues identified in the Memorandum of Understanding between the Greek authorities and the Troika as well as a first list of requests from the Greek administration received on 4 October, participants discussed on how to best organise technical assistance for Greece. The technical assistance will concentrate in three main areas:

  • growth and employment fostering measures to speed up and focus in the EU funds as well as to create improved business environment and sectoral measures for energy, tourism, agribusiness and waste management

  • taxes, expenditure control and privatisation,

  • horizontal structural reforms for the labour market, public health, justice, public administration and waste management.

At the event, Commissioner Rehn said: "I cannot stress enough the importance of this event. To me, this meeting means nothing less than a starting shot for a concerted joint European effort to assist Greece implement the much needed structural reforms required for its recovery".

The Task Force will strengthen, accelerate and widen work in support of the Greek administration that is already ongoing. In order to get a complete picture of the needs and offers for technical assistance, the Task Force had invited senior representatives from Member States, Norway as well as European and international organisations (including the EIB, EIF, IMF, OECD). The Greek delegation was led by Mr Pantelis Tzortzakis, Vice Minister for Public Administration and e-Government.

The full day meeting demonstrated the solidarity of Member States and international organisations with Greece during the current reform process. Discussions allowed for concrete progress with regard to the most urgent needs for technical assistance in some of the priority areas:

  • kick-starting 100 high level priority structural fund projects that enables best use of the remaining 15bn euro in Greece's 2007-13 structural and cohesion fund; assistance for access to finance for SMEs and crucial PPPs;

  • a major action plan with the involvement of several Member States and the IMF in the crucial tax, budget and public expenditure areas;

  • the preparation of concrete administrative reforms in Greece, based on an OECD analysis and possible support from a number of Member States.

Participants stressed the need for the Greek administration to take full ownership and make best possible use of the available technical assistance. It was agreed that there will be future high level coordination meetings every few months.

Background

Further to a request by the Greek Prime minister Papandreou and support at the European Council in June, the Task Force was set up by Commission President Barroso to coordinate technical assistance that Greece needs to deliver the EU/IMF adjustment programme; and to recommend legislative, regulatory, administrative and if necessary (re)programming measures for an accelerated take-up of EU funds, focussing on competitiveness, growth and employment/training.

The TFGR reports quarterly to the Commission and Greek government on progress achieved.

The TFGR will enhance the efficiency of technical assistance for GR by:

  • Providing a single/principal interlocutor for the GR authorities in respect of technical assistance.

  • Mobilising resources from MS and other bodies in an efficient and coordinated way;

  • Directing them to areas where they can have the greatest impact in improving basic public services, and strengthening growth and employment.

The TFGR commenced operations on 01.09.11. Since then, it is working in close contacts with the GR authorities to identify their needs as well as with Member States and international organisations offering technical assistance.

Efforts are underway to rationalise the programme of structural fund assistance and to prioritise a number of headline projects to improve absorption of available structural fund assistance.

A programme of technical assistance is being developed on the basis of close cooperation with Greek authorities, so as to respond to their priority needs. Extensive contacts have been undertaken with the most relevant Greek Ministries in order to identify priority areas.

The first Quarterly report is scheduled for early November, it will consolidate the results and working methods that emerge from the conference on 12.10.11. The report shall be made available to Member States and other organisations participating in the programme of technical assistance.

Contacts :

Olivier Bailly (+32 2 296 87 17)

Pia Seppälä (+32 2 299 24 88)


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