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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 29 April 2013

Task Force for Greece - Fourth Quarterly Report: Support for growth and jobs in Greece

Today, the Commission's Task Force for Greece (TFGR) presents its fourth quarterly report on technical assistance for Greece.

The Task Force has made steady progress in assisting the Greek authorities, in a spirit of solidarity, to help implement a wide range of reforms agreed in the context of the economic adjustment programme for Greece and to maximise the use of EU Structural Funds. The assistance provided by the Taskforce builds on the commitment of the Greek authorities to implement these reforms, which are necessary to rebuild an economy that is conducive to growth and job creation, as set out in the Memorandum of Understanding with Greece.

On adoption of the report, Commission Vice-President Olli Rehn, responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, said: "The Task Force is playing an important role in supporting Greece to implement what is a very demanding process of deep structural reforms. These reforms are creating the conditions for a more competitive Greek economy capable of generating sustainable growth and jobs. Much work has already been done, in very challenging circumstances. It is important to maintain the tempo of reform, together with the commitment and determination shown by the Greek authorities and people in recent months."

The report sets out the assistance provided by the Task Force, the Member States, international organisations and other specialist bodies to support Greece in implementing a comprehensive programme of reforms. These include:

  • Reform of the central administration: a review of the organisation of most Greek Ministries - representing about 206 000 staff - has been carried out. This paved the way for the adoption of proposals by the Greek Council of Reform in March and April 2012, under the authority of the Greek Prime Minister.

  • Motorways concessions: site works on four motorway concession projects restarted earlier this month. In parallel, discussions are continuing between the Greek Government and concessionaires to secure the long-term financing of the projects, based on the "reset agreement", to ensure the financial viability of the projects. A draft agreement was presented to the Commission in January for approval. A decision on the long-term financing of the project is expected in June.

  • Export facilitation: the detailed screening of pre-customs controls for 2 important export products (fresh fruit and feta cheese) has been swiftly followed by legislation to introduce some initial simplification of controls and working methods.

  • Out of court settlement: drawing on technical assistance for the design of "out of court" settlement procedures, a mediation system in Greece was recently launched. This involves a 3-year campaign to help people avoid lengthy and expensive court procedures and to develop centres to train accredited mediators.

Background

On 20 July 2011, following consultation with the Greek Prime Minister, President Barroso established the Task Force to provide technical assistance to Greece. This initiative was supported by the European Council on 21 July 2011, which declared that "…Member States and the Commission will immediately mobilise all resources necessary in order to provide exceptional technical assistance to help Greece implement its reforms…"

The Task Force for Greece (TFGR) started its work in October 2011 with a mandate to identify and coordinate the technical assistance that Greece has requested in order to deliver commitments undertaken in its economic adjustment programme. It also works to accelerate the absorption of EU funds in order to sustain economic growth, competitiveness and employment.

It reports to President Barroso and works under the political guidance of Vice-President Olli Rehn. The Head of the Task Force, Horst Reichenbach, submits quarterly progress reports to the Greek authorities and to the Commission.

The Task Force consists of around 60 people and is based jointly in Brussels and Athens.

The Task Force was created to help Greece to implement its challenging reform agenda, and lay solid foundations for a return to growth and job creation.

See also:

For more information:

Link to 4th quarterly report

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/president/pdf/qr4_en.pdf

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/president/pdf/qr4_el.pdf

Link to MEMO Q&A: MEMO/13/389

Contacts :

Simon O'Connor (+32 2 296 73 59)

Audrey Augier (+32 2 297 16 07)

Vandna Kalia (+32 2 299 58 24)

Pia Seppala (+32 2 299 24 88)


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