Tag Archives: European Journalism Centre

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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Creating a climate for change

Illustration by Manos Symeonakis

Over the last few months, Greeks have become accustomed to the idea that they need to adjust the way they live in order to survive. In the years to come this may stand them in good stead among their European peers when it comes to environmental, not just economic issues, because the European Commission’s latest targets for emissions cuts are going to require serious changes to daily lives across the continent.

After extensive economic modeling, the Commission earlier this month adopted a “roadmap” for transforming Europe into a competitive low-carbon economy. The proposal, which is now being put to member states, MEPs and EU leaders, calls for an 80 percent reduction in bloc emissions — compared to 1990 levels — by 2050. Unsurprisingly, there is intense debate over whether this target is ambitious enough.

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