At the European Council held in Berlin on 24 and 25 March 1999, it was determined that the Community would maintain its overall level of commitment to economic and social cohesion within Europe.
Under this agreement, the 2000-06 Community structural assistance budget allocated to Greece amounts to a total of EUR 25 billion, compared with EUR 19.271 billion in 1994-99. Thus, the amount available for the current period is 1.1% more each year than in the previous period
The total budget for Greece available to projects under the four Community Structural Funds, namely the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund - Guidance Section (EAGGF Guidance Section), and the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG), is divided as follows:
Objective 1 assistance is designed to promote the development and structural adjustment of less developed regions. Only those regions whose per capita GDP is less than 75% of the Community average are eligible for Objective 1.
In 2000-06, all the Greek regions qualify for Objective 1 assistance, (East Macedonia, Central Macedonia, Western Macedonia, Thessaly, Epirus, the Ionian Islands, Western Greece, Continental Greece, Peloponnese, Attica, North Aegean, South Aegean and Crete). This assistance -better known as the Community Support Framework for Greece (see below)- has an overall budget in 2000-06 for EUR 21 billion, compared with EUR 15.236 billion in 1995-99.
(Since the whole of Greece qualifies for Objective 1, Objectives 2 and 3 of the Structural Funds do not apply to it).
Beside the three priority Objectives, the Structural Funds also provide finance in the new period through four Community Initiatives:
The 2000-06 budget for these Initiatives in Greece is EUR 915,8 billion, broken down as follows:
The Cohesion Fund was set up by the Treaty of Maastricht to help those Member States whose per capita GNP is less than 90% of the Community average (namely Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain) to adjust to the challenges of economic and monetary union by part-financing projects in the fields of the environment and trans-European transport infrastructure. In 2000-06 Greece should receive EUR 3.320 billion, as compared with EUR 2.836 billion in 1994-99.
Lastly, although this is not, strictly speaking, structural assistance, it is worth noting that Greece also receives rural development assistance from the EAGGF Guarantee Section. The annual rural development budget for Greece is EUR 131 million, or 3% of the total Community budget in this domain.