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Tuesday, April 24, 2018
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Greek PM: EIB To Help With Greek Infrastructure Projects

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Greece will get help from the European Investment Bank to make best use of European Union funds still available to it, especially to develop infrastructure projects and boost lending to smaller businesses, the country's premier said Friday.

Lucas Papademos, speaking to reporters after a two-day summit of EU heads of state in Brussels, appeared upbeat about Greece's prospects to recover from what is now a five-year-long recession. He said: "
Greece has received Europe 's vote of confidence."

Papademos also said EU leaders had pledged their full support to help the country return to growth.

"Having met with European Commission president Barroso, I can say that
Greece is Europe 's top priority," he said. "I am returning [to Athens ] feeling more optimistic."

Papademos said
Greece plans to focus on developing renewable energy projects.

"The renewable energy sector is one where
Greece can actually develop a comparative advantage," he said, adding that "the output could help boost exports to Western Europe ."

In a meeting of finance ministers from the 17 euro-area member states Thursday,
Greece was given a provisional go-ahead to sign EUR93.5 billion worth of financing agreements with the euro-zone's transitional rescue fund. The funds are necessary to complete Greece 's ambitious restructuring of privately held debt. Some of the funds are part of its larger EUR130 billion second bailout.

However, euro-area finance ministers stopped short of granting
Greece their full approval to disburse those funds, and said they would be made available after the debt restructuring was completed and Greece had passed some remaining enacting laws, as promised.

The Greek premier said that these conditions would be met shortly and that
Greece was expecting a final green light by March 14.

Papademos welcomed help from the EU executive arm, the European Commission, to restructure
Greece 's public administration apparatus, in particular the tax system.
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