According to a Commission report, 47 EU regions, of which 11 are located in Greece, are classified as either ‘low-growth’ or ‘low-income’ regions. Cohesion policies should accordingly be targeted at these regions so as to reduce inequalities.
In Greece, the greatest difficulties are being faced by Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, the poorest regions Greece, which are also among the 20 poorest in the EU, with a per capita GDP below 50% of the EU average. They also have the highest unemployment rates, exceeding 40%, and investment in these regions has slumped dramatically.
To make matters worse, in 2010, the Manpower Employment Organisation ceased payment of the statutory 12% wage subsidy, a form of state aid intended to boost regional economic growth, remove inequalities and create jobs in two of the most backward European regions. In 2016, the Greek Government ended this measure definitively.
In view of this:
— Can the Commission say whether the employment subsidy is in line with Article 107 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)?
— Is there any chance of Cohesion Fund assistance being made available for regions in difficulty?