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Friday, March 30, 2007

Cohesion policy 2007-2013: Greece is the second Member State to have its plan and priorities agreed with the Commission

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News EU Regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner, visiting Greece, and Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and equal Opportunities, congratulated the Greek authorities for being the second Member State to agree officially with the European Commission the national plan and priorities for Cohesion policy 2007-2013.

Greece sent its National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) to the European Commission on 26 January 2007. The document lays out how EU cohesion policy will be used to deliver growth and jobs in the new programming period 2007-2013. Handing over the Commission decision approving the priorities, indicative annual allocations, and the list of operational programmes to the Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, Regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner, noted: "This is the fruit of a constructive partnership between the Greek authorities and the Commission. It marks the start of a new period in which, together, with Greece and its regions, we are determined to make the most out of regional policy and to deliver even greater benefits to the citizens. EU investment is transforming Greece's landscape to the benefit of citizens and of economic development. The progress in investing the Regional Development and Cohesion Fund monies bear testament to the impressive work being done on the ground". Commissioner Špidla said "The Greek strategy shows a strong commitment to promote the quality and the intensity of investments in human resources. Once more this proves that more and better jobs lie at the heart of the European reform agenda. With the priorities chosen by Greece, workers and enterprises will be able to better adapt to changing circumstances. The strategy focuses on boosting employment, and will strongly promote social inclusion. Citizens will also benefit in other areas of their daily lives: Special attention is given to administrative efficiency with actions to improve the quality of public policies and a reform of public services .' Commissioner Hübner added that the Commission fully supports the themes of Greece's national strategy which are closely linked to the Lisbon Agenda for more growth and quality jobs. In particular the priorities focus on the need to foster the competitiveness of the Greek economy, develop its human resources and promote employment, deliver fully operational and adequate economic and environmental infrastructures and implement reforms in order to increase the efficiency and modernise the public administration. Danuta Hübner said: "The translation of these priorities in the operational programmes will be pursued energetically in the negotiations the Commission will have with the Greek authorities in the coming months. I should like to encourage all the parties involved in regional development to work earnestly to conclude rapidly the new programmes so that no time is wasted in beginning investment on the ground." The Commissioner congratulated the Greek authorities for submitting this national strategy document in good time and on the efficient negotiations so far. She asked them to take all the necessary measures to ensure that the new programmes start on time and that all conditions for good governance are set in advance so that every single Euro is best used in the new programming period. During her stay, Danuta Hübner also met Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, Economy and Finance Deputy Minister Christos Folias, and Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis. During her stay she addressed the conference “Financial Opportunities for the Local Authorities ” (see Speech/07/209), organised by the Greek bank "Eurobank" and the European Investment Bank, and delivered a speech on development and competitiveness in Europe at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP). Strategic framework and priorities The Greek NSRF, negotiated over the past few months, sets out in broad terms how Greece will use € 20.12 billion EU investment in the next seven years to deliver growth and jobs in "Convergence" and "Competitiveness and employment" regions. Greece's priorities for 2007-2013, as set out in the NSRF, are: - Investment in the productive sector of the economy. - Knowledge society and Innovation - Employment and Social Cohesion - Modernisation of the Institutional environment - Attractiveness of Greece and of its Regions as places to invest, work and live. Greece intends to translate the broad priorities contained in the NSRF into 13 operational programmes, 5 regional and 8 thematic, to which should be added the programme on technical assistance. Now that negotiations have been successfully concluded on the wider framework document, the list of programmes and the indicative annual allocation from each fund, efforts will concentrate on the adoption of the operational programmes by the Commission. All Member States have sent their national strategic reference frameworks (NSRFs) to the Commission. They are encouraged to conclude the NSRF negotiations as soon as possible. In drawing up their NSRFs, all Member States must take account of the Community guidelines for 2007-2013 which place particular emphasis on innovation, research and technological development, the information society, environmental protection, renewable energy sources and creating more and better jobs. The NSRF must also tie in closely with Member States' national reform programmes which set out the measures they will implement to deliver the Lisbon jobs' and growth strategy.

Source :  Website of the DG regional policy

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