(Source: European Commission)
The Commission has adopted the first Partnership Agreement for the 2021-2027 programming period for Greece, the first EU country to submit its strategic reference document for deploying more than €21 billion of investments for its economic, social and territorial cohesion. The Partnership Agreement lays out the strategy and investment priorities to be addressed via the Cohesion policy funds and the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF). These funds will support key EU priorities such as the green and digital transition and will contribute to develop a competitive, innovative and export-oriented growth model for the country.
Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “I am pleased to approve the Greek Partnership Agreement for 2021-2027, the first EU country to have submitted it to the Commission. This is a political contract that translates European solidarity into national priorities and investment plans aimed at making our Member States future-proof, while correcting the internal disparities. The Commission is working shoulder to shoulder with all Member States to make sure that the next programming period works for all regions and all citizens wherever they are. A more cohesive growth model is possible with stronger and more resilient economies and societies. It is time to make internal disparities history.”
Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius added: “I trust that the strategies and investment priorities outlined in this Partnership Agreement will help build prosperous and sustainable fishing and aquaculture in Greece and a thriving blue economy that plays a crucial role in supporting coastal communities and delivering a green transition.”
In total, the Partnership Agreement comprises 22 programmes: 13 regional and 9 national. The 13 regional programmes (combine European Regional and Development Fund – ERDF and European Social Fund Plus) and correspond to each administrative region in Greece. Greece is strongly committed to the coordinated use of the Cohesion policy funds with the Recovery and Resilience Facility. A new Capacity Building programme will also facilitate the project preparation process and help strengthen the administrative and organisational capacity of beneficiaries and authorities.
A green and digital economy
Greece has planned significant investments – 30% of the ERDF and 55% of the Cohesion Fund – in energy efficiency and reduction of carbon emissions, as well as in waste and water management measures. The development of sustainable public transport will be pursued in Attica and Thessaloniki and expanded to further agglomerations throughout the country. Moreover, a new governance mechanism will allow more investments in the protection of biodiversity. Greece has also taken a strong political commitment of closing down all the lignite power plants by 2028, thus contributing significantly to the EU and national climate neutrality targets. Finally, the Partnership Agreement marks a shift away from the road investments in favour of multi-modal and more sustainable modes of transport.
More social cohesion
Promotion of social cohesion stands high on the agenda through investments in employment, quality and inclusive education and training, green and digital skills as well as high-quality social inclusion services, in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights. The delivery of investments will be accompanied by key reforms, as well as capacity building mechanisms for beneficiaries and public administration.
A holistic approach to the fisheries, aquaculture and maritime sectors
Greece will invest in a holistic approach in the fisheries, aquaculture and maritime sectors to enable the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy, the European Green Deal, the EU Strategic Guidelines for sustainable and competitive EU aquaculture, and the EU Communication on Sustainable Blue Economy.
The Partnership Agreement specifies how the Greek fisheries, aquaculture and blue economy sectors, as well as coastal communities, will be supported. The main aim being to promote resilience and the green and digital transitions, 35% of the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund resources will be allocated to mainstreaming climate objectives.
A digital economy and society
Priority will be given to strategic investments in both infrastructure and soft measures related to digitalisation of companies and public services and the upgrade of digital skills across the population. More than 38% of the ERDF funds will support research, innovation and development of small and medium-sized enterprises, based on a new and improved national/regional smart specialisation strategy.
Within the Cohesion policy, each Member State has to prepare a Partnership Agreement in cooperation with the Commission. Linked to the EU priorities, this is a reference document for programming investments from the Cohesion policy funds and the EMFAF during the Multiannual Financial Framework. It defines the strategy and investment priorities chosen by the Member State and presents a list of national and regional programmes which it aims to implement, as well as an indicative annual financial allocation for each programme.
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