70 civil society organisations co-signed an open letter to the Deputy Minister of Finance, Theodoros Skylakakis, initiated by Common Ground and Greenpeace, outlining their priorities for a green and just recovery and seeking more public involvement in developing policies
ATHENS, 23 March 2021 – Greece, like all other
member states, has until the end of April to submit a plan to the EU
outlining how it will spend the €32 billion it will receive in recovery
funds to overcome the effects of the pandemic. Civil society recognises
this as an unprecedented opportunity for a truly just, inclusive, and
sustainable transition and seeks transparency in the planning process.
So far, civil society has been largely left out of the process and
kept in the dark, despite hopes that it would be inclusive and
transparent. “It is vital to have full transparency for the sake of
monitoring and accountability and in order to keep the citizenry
informed, which is essential for the recovery” says Common Ground
spokesperson, Dominika Spyratou.
Given that recent crises (economic, refugee reception, pandemic) have
deepened social inequalities in Greece, the signatories contend that
recovery policies should target typically overlooked populations such as
impoverished households, the homeless, migrants, and refugees. At the
same time, they call for policies that prioritise protecting the
environment and reducing the effects of climate change in order to
ensure a sustainable future and stave off future disasters and
“On the one hand, we face a pandemic, the collapse of biodiversity,
the climate crisis, and increasing social inequalities. On the other
hand, we have an opportunity to use the Recovery Fund to protect our
health, biodiversity, the planet and to promote social justice not just
to pre-pandemic levels, but to make our society stronger, healthier, and
more cohesive than ever. Threat and opportunity,” says Nikos
Charalambidis, Director of Greenpeace Greece.
Common Ground and the letter’s co-signers urge the Greek government to:
- Invite the public, and in particular civil society, to submit their proposals
for spending the recovery funds before the government submits its final
plan in April and ensure their meaningful participation in the plan’s
design, implementation and monitoring.
- Prepare a detailed action plan detailing proposed
programmes, objectives, beneficiaries and expected impact, which
includes valid environmental, social and economic indicators.
- Improve clarity and transparency around the process, including regular information exchange sessions with stakeholders and public awareness campaigns.
Why it matters: If the above mentioned measures are
implemented as part of a coordinated effort combined with other
initiatives and funding opportunities to strengthen public policies, it
will lead Greece out of the pandemic and toward a more just and
After years of austerity, the refugee reception crisis and now the pandemic, this large sum of money can enable society to turn a corner and start truly recovering from economic and social problems. To succeed, Greece must avoid repeating the policies of the past that led us to the difficult position we are in today (confronting rising inequalities, polarisation, injustice, biodiversity loss, and the climate crisis).
- In July 2020, the European Union launched a €750 billion pandemic recovery fund, of which 37% is earmarked specifically for fighting climate change with the rest going toward other investments and reforms to strengthen resilience, a digital transformation, fairness, and macroeconomic stability. EU member states now have until the end of April to submit their final spending plans to account for their share of the financial aid. Greece will receive €32 billion in a combination of grants and loans.
Read the open letter at: