ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece has received a 3.6 billion euro ($3.9 billion) payment out of its allotted 30.5 billion from the European Union’s pandemic recovery fund.
The announcement was made Friday by Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commission’s executive vice president, via video link with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Dombrovskis, visiting Athens, held online meetings with Greek officials after testing positive for COVID-19, an EU official said.
The European recovery and resilience fund provides vital relief for Greece, which had barely emerged from a deep, decadelong financial crisis when the coronavirus pandemic hit. It provides 12.7 billion euros in loans and 17.8 billion euros in grants through 2026.
“The ongoing war in Ukraine has shown how quickly events can turn and that we are now finding ourselves in a different geopolitical reality,” Dombrovskis told Mitsotakis in the livestreamed video call. “It not only illustrates the need of remaining united in the face of Russian brutality but also of sticking to our policies to build up economic and social resilience.”
The fund “will help Europe to stay strong in bad times as well as in good times and to build for a future together,” he said.
The plan Greece put forward to qualify for the funds centers on environmental and digital reform, employment and private investment.
“We will make good use of these funds, and we will stay on track,” Mitsotakis said, adding that “this government is committed to reforms.”
Dombrovskis noted Greece had already “made some major investments” and was also working toward diversifying its energy supplies to reduce its dependence on Russia.
This story has been corrected to show that Dombrovskis is in Athens but his meetings were canceled after testing positive for COVID-19, not that his trip was canceled.