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Commissioner Hahn welcomes progress in Greece on the eve of the EU Presidency

(13 December 2013)

Commissioner Hahn welcomes progress in Greece on the eve of the EU Presidency

Commissioner Hahn was in Greece on 11-12 December to discuss how EU Regional Policy can help in the coming years the country's recovery and return to growth.  At his meeting with Prime Minister Samaras in Athens, Commissioner Hahn welcomed both the substantial progress in absorbing EU funds and the considerable work done to plan investments for 2014-2020.

Commissioner Hahn said: "I welcome the Partnership Agreement from Greece which we received this week. In particular its clear focus on the real economy that will create jobs and give people hope for the future. It is also an excellent move by the current government that 35% of regional funds will be managed by the 13 regions in the next period as opposed to current 22%".

The Commissioner was also in Crete, the 7th of 13 regions he has visited so far, to meet the Governor Stavros Arnaoutakis and representatives of local authorities and entrepreneurs. The Commissioner said, "Crete is very well advanced in terms of planning its regional strategy (smart specialisation) for the coming programing period. The region can be seen as something of a blueprint for the rest of Greece. Cooperation between business and research must be strengthened since it will widen the scope of business opportunities". Commissioner Hahn also visited some EU-funded projects in Crete, among them the laboratory for "Ambient Intelligence" building at the Foundation Institute of Computer Research and Technology (FORTH) near Heraklion, one of the largest research centres in Greece with well-organized facilities, highly qualified staff and a reputation as a top-level research foundation worldwide.

In Athens the Commissioner also attended a key-event organised by the Mayor of Athens Yiorgos Kaminis on the 'Re-launching the Athens' project - an innovative urban development strategy to tackle social exclusion as well as the economic and physical decline of the city. In his speech he said, "This project is unique and of great value for the city. We want to see more of this in the future with measures that deal with social inclusion and the economic and physical decline of the city at the same time".