Greece, which is struggling with crippling debt and economic implosion, needs to make better use of existing European Union funds while it waits for the effects of money granted in a recent international bailout to kick in, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Wednesday.
Speaking after a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, Barroso said structural and regional funds could be used to create jobs and stimulate economic growth in the short term.
â€œIt is mainly about using effectively and swiftly what we have,â€ Barroso said at a news conference after his meeting with Papademos, explaining that Athens will be under stronger surveillance to ensure that money is managed better.
In addition to struggling with economic contraction, violent protests and sky high unemployment, Greece also faces rising mistrust from some of its partners because of a history of inefficient use of EU funds and because of its failure to meet promptly some of the strict international demands for austerity. Experts say Papademosâ€™s presence has been a crucial part of calming those fears.
Barroso and Papademos, who also discussed implementation details related to a recently approved second bailout of debt-stricken Greece, agreed to set up a fund to support small and medium-sized businesses. They also discussed ways to finance infrastructure and renewable energy projects. The money for these initiatives would come from existing EU funds separate from money included in international bailouts of Greece.
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