European Commission gives preliminary approval for disbursement of 3.6 billion euros to Greece
Of the 3.6 billion euros, grants comprise 1.7 billion euros and loans comprise 1.9 billion euros. The Greek recovery and resilience plan will be supported in total by 17.4 billion euros in grants and 12.7 billion euros in loans, of which 4 billion euros was disbursed to Greece in pre-financing on August 9, 2021. A first payment request from Greece was assessed positively by the Commission on February 28, 2022, which led to the disbursement of 3.6 billion euros on April 8.
The second installment approved will account for 11.1 billion euros of the total to be disbursed, or 37% of Recovery Fund funding for Greece.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen congratulated Greece and said, "The country has made sufficient progress in the implementation of its national recovery plan to receive a second payment under NextGenerationEU. Once member states will have given their green light, Greece will receive 3.6 billion euros."
She added that "Greece is driving forward ambitious reforms in key areas such as renewable energy, railway infrastructure, public transportation and the digitalisation of SMEs," encouraging new investments in tourism, manufacturing and agriculture, and "delivered on its commitments on audit and control to protect taxpayers' money."
The request was submitted by Greece on September 30, based on the achievement of the 28 milestones and targets laid out in the Council Implementing Decision for the second instalment. They cover reforms and investments promoting the use of renewable energy so as to make the electricity market fit for a high share of renewables, and include reorganising the railways sector to develop, operate and maintain a modern railway network, opening up the public bus transportation market to improve services and to promote a greener bus fleet, the Commission said.
Other reforms and investments support the digital transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as interconnecting payment terminals with the tax administration, incentivising green and digital investments by the private sector, encouraging small companies to grow and export, enhancing the supervision of capital markets, creating new funding opportunities for research and encouraging new investments in the tourism, manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
"With their request, the Greek authorities provided detailed and comprehensive evidence demonstrating the fulfilment of the 28 milestones and targets. As required by the RRF Regulation, Greece has also confirmed that measures related to previously satisfactorily fulfilled milestones and targets have not been reversed," the Commission noted.
The Commission's positive preliminary assessment of Greece's fulfilment of the milestones and targets will be assessed by the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC), whose opinion will be delivered in four weeks at most. Following the EFC's opinion, the Commission will adopt the final decision on the disbursement of the financial contribution, in accordance with the examination procedure, through a comitology committee. Following the adoption of the decision by the Commission, the disbursement to Greece can take place.