Procedures for drafting the National Strategic Development Plan for the programme period 2007-2013 were initiated in June 2004. A 1st Circular was issued, defining the various bodies and levels to be involved in drawing up the Development Plan. Overall responsibility for drafting the Plan lies with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, which will be working in association with other ministries involved, as well as regional and local authorities. The whole planning process will involve horizontal and vertical consultation with the appropriate agencies and economic and social partners.
The Plan is to be prepared on the following levels:
Preparation level 1: 'Coordination and Policy Formulation Committee'. The committee will function as a central coordinating mechanism, establishing the basic framework within which the Plan will develop, and determining the general and more specific issues which need to be discussed in the context of the social dialogue.
Preparation level 2: 'Drafting group'. The group will support the above committee on a day-to-day basis.
Preparation level 3: 'Ministry and Regional Authority Planning Groups'. These groups will act as the liaison between the Ministry/Regional Authority and the Drafting Group.
A 2nd Circular was issued giving more detailed guidance, specifically:
n Describing the programme framework for the period 2007-2013, as set out in the guideline texts produced to date by the European Union .
n Defining the national development programming documents to be prepared for the period 2007-2013, and the timetable for their preparation.
n Describing the methodology and procedures to be followed in drawing up the National Development Strategy Guidelines 2007-2013.
n Describing the methodology and procedures for planning the Sectoral and Regional development priorities.
n Describing the principles to be followed in organizing the Regional Development Conferences, which are expected to make a crucial contribution to the planning of regional priorities.
n The underlying principles of the planning are as follows:
n Planning for development in the new period will be based on specific Strategic Objectives – Development Axes, which must be consistent with overall European strategy.
n Each sector policy agency (ministries) and each regional policy agency (Regional General Secretariats) will draw up its own Development Programme.
n These Development Programmes will form the basis for the final Operational Programmes.
n As far as possible the attainment of the objectives sought will be monitored using quantified indicators.
n The Development Programmes will receive funding not only from European and national resources, but also from the private sector, through joint public-private sector partnerships.
Certain basic development decisions have already been formulated, arising from the new development phase which the Greek economy is now entering, and defined by its progress towards greater competitiveness in the global economy. The main preconditions of the basic development choices made so far are continuation of the structural changes in the framework of the single market and the country’s economic integration into the international marketplace, the restructuring of the public administration and its modernization on all levels and in all sectors.
The guideline texts issued to date by the European Union, particularly the 3rd Report on Cohesion, would appear to indicate a number of Development Axes to be followed in drawing up the national strategy. The order in which they are listed should not be interpreted as a ranking in order of priority:
n Strengthening competitiveness
n Improving accessibility and services of general economic interest
n Upgrading and protecting the environment and averting possible dangers
n Developing human resources and promoting employment
n Improving the managerial competence of the public administration
n Strengthening cross-border, trans-national and trans-regional cooperation
The Development Axes as set out in their preliminary form above will be given more precise definition later at the Regional Authority level, in order to strengthen regional cohesion and development, to make the regions more flexible and competitive on the national and European levels, making full use of their comparative advantages. Emphasis will be laid, of course, on the less developed regions and on regions with special features, such as run-down urban areas, remote regions and regions with geographical disadvantages (e.g. islands, mountain areas).
It is anticipated that these Axes will be supplemented and improved during the process of drafting the official text of the Strategic Directions for economic, social and spatial cohesion on the EU level for the period 2007-2013.
The basic programme texts and the timetable for their completion are as follows:
n National Strategic Development Plan 2007-2013: The Plan is scheduled to be ready for dispatch to the European Commission in early 2006. It will form the subject of negotiations with the Commission and will provide the framework for the new Operational Programmes.
n Operational Programmes (O.P.) for the period 2007-2013: The O.P.s will be prepared in parallel with the National Strategic Development Plan, to be submitted to the Commission within the first six months of 2006.
The National Development Strategy, to be formulated in the National Strategic Development Plan and given operational expression in the O.P.s, requires meaningful and decisive contribution from the agencies responsible for sector policies (ministries) and also those responsible for regional policies (Regional General Secretariats). It will also be necessary to ensure the active involvement of the local authorities and social partners throughout the whole process.