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Brussels, 23 January 2013
Opening Remarks by Commissioner Hahn at the Press Conference with Greek Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on Greece's Implementation of EU Structural and Cohesion Funds
We had a very constructive meeting. Minister Hatzidakis and I have a very close working relationship – and we used the opportunity today to assess progress as a whole on Greece's use of Structural and Cohesion funds. I am deeply impressed at Greece's ability to submit payment claims of up to 3.2 billion EUR which covers 87% of the target set for this last year under the Memorandum of Understanding. This is a huge success which I very much appreciate. Now the Commission will assess these claims.
The second issue that we discussed was the well-known Priority Projects. We agreed these one and a half years ago and they have a great importance for Greece. Here we do see some progress in some of the projects which have been completed but on the other hand there are others where we still need the necessary agreements and contracts to complete them. Or it might be necessary to decide to use the money for something else. We have agreed that in two months there will be a final assessment about the direction of these priority projects.
We have also agreed that the projects from the previous period should be completed in the course of this this year. I am confident that the agreed targets can be achieved.
We also had a discussion about support for small and medium sized businesses. These of course are of great importance to stimulate the Greek economy. Part of all of this, was a discussion about the "motorway concessions" where I received a very comprehensive information from the Minister and his team on the state of the negotiations. And here I think we are able to say that Greece will be able to deliver and the Commission will certainly assist in whatever way it can to implement these projects which were already agreed some years ago.