Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met on Monday with Greece's 13 regional directors to discuss the faster absorption and utilization of NSRF funds and the migrant/refugee issue.
At the Maximos Mansion meeting, the prime minister said the government would tie the effective use of 2021-2027 EU funding to greater credits from the central government. "As funds are transformed in a timely manner into proper works, the region's responsibilities will also rise," Mitsotakis explained. "As the responsibilities bring results, so will state credits to the region increase. This is what effective management and responsibility requires - it's something we promised the Greek people and something that will help Greece's development overall."
The prime minister said that Greece must present Brussels with the new Partnership Agreement in January, and the plans for new Operational Programs by June. "However, up to now, and a month after an extension was provided, only four regions have tabled their priorities. This means more work for all of us," Mitsotakis said, before outlining the government's plans for the currently running funding period. The government's review of the current period will result in "roadmaps" for each region that will be handed over to regiomal directors, he added.
In terms of the migrant/refugee flows, Mitsotakis said that "this government follows a different policy" and noted that the new refugee asylum law is stricter. He mentioned among others the guarding of borders and the creation of controlled centers where migrants await return.
Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chryssochoidis said 400 border guards would be hired for Evros borders in the northeast, 500 staff for asylum services on the islands and the mainland and 800 guards for the borders on the islands and for hotspots.
"We are not blowing up the issue, but we don't underestimate it, either," Mitsotakis said, and called on regional directors to show solidarity with the islands. "I can't be fighting a battle and asking for solidarity from Europe when there is none among us," he noted.
The meeting was attended by several ministers, ministry staff and other government officials at Maximos Mansion.