The European Union’s cohesion funds supported Greece at a very difficult time, and this effective use is the best argument for the Cohesion Policy’s usefulness, Alternate Minister of Economy & Development Alexis Charitsis said in Luxembourg on Thursday.
Representing Greece at the meeting of the EU’s General Affairs Council on the Cohesion Policy post-2020, Charitsis noted, “Cohesion funds supported the Greek economy in a particularly difficult time. They funded the implementation of critical infrastructures, reinforced SMEs and contributed the most in the combat against unemployment and poverty. The effective use of these funds by Greece in the last three years, the tangible improvement they brought to citizens’ lives, is the best argument for the usefulness of the Cohesion Policy and the need to reinforce it.”
Charitsis submitted a series of proposals for the improvement of the policy and the more efficient use of its funds, pointing out that the main criteria that should be used to allocate funds after 2020 should be social indexes that measure level of poverty, unemployment or inner-regional inequalities.
“Special care should be considered for the geographically isolated and difficult to access regions, like islands and mountain areas,” he said, noting that it is also necessary to simplify procedures on all levels so they are implemented faster and at maximum effect.
Cohesion Policy is the EU’s main tool for the promotion of convergence between member states. Its role is even more pivotal now that the Union is gravely tested due to the rise of nationalist and anti- European powers across Europe.