The European Commission is expected to give its eagerly awaited nod to the Greek government’s national recovery program (“Greece 2.0”) next Wednesday, opening the way for the disbursement of 30.5 billion euros to Greece by 2026, with the first €7.5 billion set to reach the state coffers within this year.
Brussels’ approval of the program, which aspires to heal the pandemic’s wounds and lead the economy in a new direction, will be sealed by the visit of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Athens on Thursday, according to the – as yet informal – planning.
Von der Leyen, for whom the Next Generation EU fund constitutes a personal success, will tour a group of countries that will be the first to get the approval this Wednesday, including Greece. On Thursday she is set to meet Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and according to sources she will make online visits to key projects that will be co-funded by the NGEU cash.
Sources in Brussels confirm there are two disbursements planned for Greece this year: the deposit of 13% of the package, amounting to about €4 billion, which should arrive between July and August as it also requires ratification by the Council of Ministers before the process for contract signing. The ministers will need to decide within one month.
Then, if the prior actions required for the third quarter of the year are completed, the first proper tranche will also be disbursed by the end of the year, amounting to €3.5 billion.
The Finance Ministry estimates that a large chunk of the €7.5 billion to arrive this year – some €3.5 billion – will concern loans, while the remaining €4 billion will be in the form of grants. The leveraging means a total of at least €7 billion of private investments. However, disbursements to companies are not expected before next year.
In any case, at next week’s Eurogroup meeting the eurozone finance ministers are expected to sign off €748 million to Greece from the SMP and ANFA earnings, as a result of the successful completion of the latest post-bailout monitoring.