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Greece gets first burst of EU’s Covid-19 recovery funding

Commission turns €4 billion over to country, whose recovery plan includes actions for boosting research

The European Commission has given Greece the first part of its share of the EU’s €750 billion Covid-19 recovery fund, some of which is set to be used for R&D and education investments.

On 9 August, the Commission handed over €4bn to “kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures” in the country’s plan for its share. The money is 13 per cent of Greece’s total share of €30.5 billion, with €17.8 billion in grants and €12.7 billion in loans.

Greece is the fourth country to have receive its first burst of money from the fund. To receive more than 13 per cent of their share, countries must achieve milestones for their reforms and investments agreed with the Commission. More than half of EU member states have had their plans for those reforms and investments signed off, meaning more initial payments are expected soon.

Greece’s plan

According to a Commission analysis, Greece’s plan for its share of the fund devotes €444 million to promoting research and innovation, and €2.3bn to education, training and skills.

The R&D spending is intended to increase public and private investment in research and innovation, strengthen ties between science and business, and develop R&D infrastructure.

“Increasing Greece’s business R&D expenditure would be instrumental in improving its research and innovation capacity,” said the analysis.

Within the area of higher education, investments are intended to foster cooperation between universities in Greece and abroad, enhance research activity in universities, and better link higher education and the labour market.