Süddeutsche Zeitung: Greece dreams of becoming the “Mediterranean California”

“Brussels is impressed by the upcoming ‘Greece 2.0’ project,” the newspaper reports

“Athens presented ambitious plans for the utilization of resources from the Recovery Facility. This is about 30 billion euros. Brussels is impressed by the future project “Greece 2.0”, Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

As the article notes: “The program is very important for Greece. The country had just recovered from the euro crisis and the national debt crisis when the next catastrophe came last year: the coronavirus pandemic and the consequent collapse of tourism worldwide (…) At least one in five jobs is linked to the tourism sector and on some islands this percentage is higher. In 2020 the country’s GDP decreased by almost 10%. Now the government is doing a lot to restore tourist bookings this summer by at least 50% compared to the summer of 2019: by speeding up vaccinations, with strict travel restrictions within the country, so that the Easter holidays do not lead to an outbreak of coronavirus just before the start of the tourist season in May. But even if the hopes are fulfilled, the country will urgently need help from abroad.”

The report elsewhere refers to the overall financial planning of the Mitsotakis government and observes: “The fact that the country would need a comprehensive plan to stand on its own two feet after the crisis was something the Greek government has known since the election of 2019. That is why it asked Nobel Prize-winner Cypriot economist Christoforos Pissaridis to draw up a plan for more innovation, jobs, and productivity. “The plan could be based on the committee of experts’ plan for the development of EU development funds. The goals are ambitious, without frills: Greece must become the ‘California of Europe’, according to Pissaridis.”

Among other things, the Greek plan of 4,104 pages aims in addition to the economic at the “social transformation of the country”.

As SZ notes: “The government wants to fight tax evasion more effectively and launch anti-discrimination programs. Also the generation under 30, which has been particularly affected by the pandemic, should receive additional support through job search and training programs as well as with allowances for the purchase of computers. In a conversation with SZ, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis recently stated that the EU Recovery Fund is “an opportunity that appears only once per generation”.

Source: Deutsche Welle

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