Greece ranks fifth in absorption of Juncker Plan funds

Greece ranks fifth in Europe in the absorption of Juncker Plan funds, according to European Commission figures, Economy, Development and Tourism Minister George Stathakis said on Friday.
 Speaking in Parliament, in response to a question by opposition deputy Yiannis Maniatis on the absorption and projects of a Juncker Plan, Stathakis underlined that: “European Investment Bank is present in Greece with an accelerating rate of agreements and shows very strong confidence on the Greek economy”. He stressed that the Greek economy was exploiting all available funding tools and will create new ones with the aim to maximize their efficiency for the economy. He particularly mentioned funding of small- and medium-sized enterprises and noted that new funding tools have been launched. Funding includes very large sums and it is estimated that funds allocated for SMEs will surpass 2.5 billion euros in the next few months.
 By the end of 2016, Greece will have absorbed around 2.0 billion euros from the Juncker Plan. In the long list of projects agreed with EIB for direct funding, there are three very significant development plans:
-a fourth line in the Athens Metro (with a budget of 1.5 billion euros of which 75 pct funding from EIB and the other 25 pct from EU support funds)
-electricity interconnection of Crete-Peloponese (with a budget of 330 million euros, of which 50 pct in loans and 50 pct from EU support funds
-expanding natural gas grid in 16 cities (with a budget of 280 million euros).
 EIB has already signed an agreement with the Greek state, worth 180 million euros, to fund the Greek Research and Innovation Foundation, and was at an advance stage of signing another contract, worth 135 million euros, to implement a large program of university campus facilities.