EU greenlights €800 million program for the support of Greek tourism sector

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EU greenlights €800 million program for the support of Greek tourism sectorGreek PM to tourism sector: New EU funding plan will provide €420 million to SMEs

The European Commission on Tuesday approved, under EU State aid rules, an 800 million euros Greek scheme to support companies active in tourism affected by the coronavirus outbreak, ANA reports.

The scheme was approved under the State aid temporary framework.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, announced: "This 800 million euros Greek scheme will facilitate access to liquidity for companies active in the tourism sector. They have been hit hard by the pandemic and this scheme will help ensure the continuity of their economic activity in these difficult times. We continue to work in close cooperation with the Member States to find workable solutions to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, in line with EU rules”.

Greece notified the Commission an 800 million scheme that will provide support to companies active in the tourism sector, affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and will be open to companies of all sizes that experienced a turnover decline of more than 30% in 2020, compared to 2019. The aid will take the form of direct grants, with a maximum amount for each grant of either up to 5% of the beneficiary's annual turnover or 400,000 euros per company, whichever the lowest. The aim of the scheme is to provide beneficiaries with working capital needed for acquiring raw materials necessary for their activities.

The Commission found that the scheme notified by Greece is in line with the conditions set out in the temporary framework. In particular, the aid will not exceed 1.8 million euros per beneficiary and will be granted no later than 31 December 2021. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate, and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the temporary framework

The funding is "working capital, a subsidy that will provide up to 400,000 euros per tax entity,"  Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Tuesday during a meeting with sector representatives at Maximos Mansion

Recipients across the sector will include hotels and housing, rental rooms and camping, as well as agencies and tourist buses, he clarified, pointing out that "this is primarily a support addressed to small and medium-sized enterprises."

The premier said the sector was particularly badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic for 16 months "and must now catch up quickly, but for this, it will need working capital."

Mitsotakis also showed the participants the EU-wide European Digital Certificate he received after completing his vaccination and noted that "Greece is among the first seven countries, the first wave, to join the digital platform, which means Greek citizens can print out their own European Digital Certificate." This was a Greek initiative at the EU as of January, he reiterated.

He further said that the funding program for SMEs will provide subsidies based on 5% of the turnover for housing facilities and 2.5% for other businesses in tourism. The amount will be tax-free and not subject to confiscation. Franchise businesses will be included under certain terms set by the NSRF, and application for the program can be done through the platform www.ependyseis.gr. Assessment and payment will be carried out speedily.

Attending the meeting on the government's side were Ministers of Tourism Harry Theoharis, Development & Investments Adonis Georgiadis and Deputy Minister Yiannis Tsakiris, as well as Giorgos Zervos, special secretary for handling European regional and cohesion funds. On the tourism sector side, participants included Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) President Yiannis Retsos, Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA) President Lyssandros Tsilides, and Hellenic Chamber of Hotels Board Member Grigoris Tassios.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC-BY-SA Copyright: Europa credito urgente

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