Tag Archives: EU funds

Is Greece drowning in Europe’s fruit salad?

Illustration by Manos Symeonakis

“Europe is like a fruit salad,” says Frank Schwalba-Hoth, perched on the edge of his seat at the European Parliament’s cafe in Brussels. Normally, our surroundings would be a hive of activity but this week the MEPs have buzzed off to Strasbourg, the Parliament’s other home. But even if there had been a throng of politicians from the 27 member states around, the topic of discussion — Will Greece survive? Will the EU survive? — would have been too absorbing for us to notice.

Schwalba-Hoth, a German politician who was a founding member of the country’s Green Party and served as an MEP in the 1980s, is engaging company. He now works as a networker and consultant in Brussels and his knowledge of the workings and history of Europe’s institutions is unrivaled. He believes the Greek debt crisis and the threat it poses to the euro is just the latest in a long list of challenges that the EU, which traces its roots back to the European Coal and Steel Community founded in 1951, has faced in its long history.

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Greece letting EU funds to fight unemployment and social exclusion slip away

Illustration by Manos Symeonakis

European Union funding mainly aimed at helping the unemployed — who now number almost 800,000 — get back to work, Kathimerini English Edition has learned.

European Commission sources said that Greece was entitled to claim 4.2 billion euros between 2007 and 2013 through the European Social Fund (ESF), which is designed to promote employment and enhance social inclusion in the EU. However, Greece, which is notoriously poor at absorbing EU funds, has used just a small percentage of this money.

Sources said that Greece has only claimed 18.5 percent (less than 800 million euros) so far. The average absorption rate for ESF funds across the 27 member states is 24 percent.

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