"The quick release of EU cohesion policy funds by the European Commission is a step forward and will contribute in tackling the Greek crisis, but should accompany government reform"
The President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Markku Markkula, has praised the European Commission for accelerating the deployment of € 20bn under EU cohesion policy – in addition to a further € 15bn of agricultural funds - to Greece: "Thanks to early payments, higher co-financing rates and the technical assistance by experts, Greek regional and local authorities can start delivering projects that can reinvigorate local economies during one of the toughest phase of the post-war period. But funding alone is only part of the answer: the Greek government must also set about making fundamental structural reform".
According to the CoR President the European Commission's initiative has important implications both for Greece and for the EU: "I wrote to the President of the European Commission and Council only last week calling for a sustainable solution for Greece. By being flexible and bringing forward EU money allocated to Greece, it demonstrates that the EU wants to find an answer but the Greek government must play its part and introduce significant reform".
In the letter sent to the two EU Presidents on 10 July, President Markkula had stressed this point where he stated: "Greece's reconstruction presupposes investment, both public and private, as well as the rehabilitation of the investment capacity of its local and regional authorities. This is exactly where the EU should play its role to the full, in a spirit of solidarity but also with Greece's firm assurance that it will face up to its responsibilities".
The CoR President further commented that, "The European Committee of the Regions will do everything in its power to help Greek regions and cities, including exploiting our networks and partnership to make the most of the local experiences found across Europe ".
Contact:Pierluigi Boda Tel.: +32 22822461Mob: +32 email@example.com