Greece has tapped 15 billion euros from EU’s Recovery Fund – minister

ATHENS (Reuters) -Greece has received nearly 15 billion euros ($16 billion) in grants and loans from the European Union’s Recovery Fund since 2021, a sum which is equivalent to about 8% of its economic output, the government said on Monday.

After years of underinvestment due to a 2010-2018 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, Greece has improved its uptake of European funds, tackling bureaucracy and helping its economy grow faster.

Greece is eligible for a total of 36 billion euros in grants and loans from the post-pandemic fund until 2027 and the resources were expected to leverage total investment of 60 billion euros in medium-sized companies, green energy, digitisation and infrastructure.

Athens will put in requests to receive another 3.6 billion euros from the Recovery Fund by September, which would help the country achieve its target for economic growth of 2.9% this year, Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Papathanasis said on Monday.

Greek public investment- which draws funding mainly from the EU, including the Recovery Fund, as well as from the state budget – will come in at 12 billion euros this year to reach 15 billion euros in 2026, a presentation by the finance ministry showed.

“More than 60% of the expected 2.9% growth in 2024 will come from public investment … which will be the largest in the last 14 years,” Papathanasis told reporters. “We are optimistic that there will be new jobs.”

Athens has doubled annual state funding earmarked to deal with natural disasters to 600 million euros, following climate-driven record floods that swept away farming land, roads and railways and killed 16 people in the fertile Thessaly region.

It plans to tap more than 3.5 billion euros of European and state funds to fix the damage the September disaster caused to households and businesses and make its infrastructure more resilient to climate change in the coming years, Papathanasis said.

($1 = 0.9139 euros)

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Toby Chopra)