The additional funding of small and medium-sized enterprises using all available financing tools, including the European Investment Bank (EIB), was among the issues discussed in a meeting on Wednesday between Greek Development and Competitiveness Minister Nikos Dendias and the head of the European Commission’s Task Force for Greece Horst Reichenbach.
Earlier, a senior Task Force official told reporters that more efforts were necessary to boost liquidity and warned about the risk of National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) overbooking, adding that the seventh Task Force Report made public on Wednesday, includes praise and recommendations as regards to the country’s next moves.
A reference was made to the major problem of liquidity in the economy, as well as to the progress made in the absorption of community funds.
The Task Force official also underlined the risk of resource overbooking, referring to Greece approving projects with budgets that cannot be covered by the available funds.
According to the Task Force Report, the Hellenic Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has reported 2,628 cases of suspected tax evasion since 2012, forwarded 472 relevant cases to the prosecutor’s office and “frozen” 205 million euros in assets in the context of cooperation between the Task Force and the Greek government. The figures are included in the 7th Task Force Report, on the technical assistance provided to Greece between February and May 2014.
Regarding the efforts to tackle corruption, a total of 700 officials from the FIU, the Financial Crime Police, the Financial and Economic Crime Unit (SDOE), the General Secretariat for Public Revenue, the prosecutor’s office and the Bank of Greece (BoG) have been trained in combating money laundering activities.
The indirect registry of bank accounts established in early 2014, provided valuable information to law enforcement authorities; recommendations have been made for the establishment of a coordination mechanism to prioritize criminal investigation by financial and special anti-corruption prosecutors, and legislation is being prepared to settle issues concerning the financing of political parties, wealth statements and the immunity from prosecution enjoyed by elected officials.
As regards to the improvement of the business environment, procedures have been sped up and became simplified, facilitating transactions.
Referring to the problem of unserviced loans, the Task Force official said that their assistance has not been requested, noting that international expertise on the issue is huge and can be utilized.
On the NSRF, the report mentions that in the 2007-2013 programming period, Greece improved the absorption rate of structural fund resources ranking 5th in the EU, up from the 18th place it occupied in late 2011.