- Greece to receive EUR 125 million of support
- First European Investment Bank support for public sector digitalisation anywhere in Europe via a dedicated and targeted programme
- New financing to help unlock economic benefits, further strengthen IT skills, and create a more friendly environment for citizens and entrepreneurs, while acting as catalyst to attract further investment in the country
The European Investment Bank will provide support of 125 million euros to further strengthen digitalisation projects undertaken by Greece’s Digital Governance Ministry. The agreement was signed in Athens today by Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis, Minister of Finance and EIB Governor Christos Staikouras and EIB Vice President for Greece, Christian Kettel Thomsen. The loan agreement aims to support the upgrade of the Greek state’s digital infrastructure.
The financing will be directed towards projects that will be of immediate benefit to the Greek public, but also works that will produce indirect benefits by enhancing parts of the public administration where the state and citizens interact. The first category includes projects such as “Wi-Fi GR”, which aims to create 3,000 hot spots in public areas across Greece and the digitalisation of public health services. The second category consists of schemes such as the creation of teleconferencing networks in courts and prisons. Special emphasis will be placed on innovation, the development of digital skills among citizens and adapting to the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution through the financing of actions such as National Digital Innovation Hubs.
The program, which will be implemented over a five-year period, will play a key role in the complete digital transformation of the Greek public sector and in offering services focussed on serving citizens and providing them with a positive experience.
Minister of Finance and EIB Governor Christos Staikouras said: “Through this framework agreement, the EIB will provide EUR 125 million for financing the promotion of digital transformation in a wide spectrum of public services. Within the next five years these financed projects, ranging in the public health, social security, justice, transport, communications and media sectors, are expected to facilitate public sector transactions and improve the lives of Greek citizens. All are significant projects expected to lead to new, as well as the enhancement of existing, administrative mechanisms with immediate and long term benefits for households, businesses and the economy across the country.”
Minister of State and Digital Governance, Kyriakos Pierrakakis said: “This is the year that the exponential progress in Greece’s digital transformation will start to align with the implementation of major technology and information technology works. Citizens already have more digital capabilities at their disposal. And, as we progress, these will improve even further, providing more added value to their daily lives. In order to achieve this, we are determined to use to the fullest extent the financing tools so we can improve the country’s digital infrastructure. Today’s announcement by the European Investment Bank is doubly important because the financing that has been approved will be directed towards extremely important digital projects, but also because it reflects the broader trust internationally in Greece’s digital transformation.”
EIB Vice President for Greece Christian Kettel Thomsen said: “Across Europe the pandemic has caused highlighted new challenges and demonstrated the need to innovate, create new best practice for public administration and accelerate digitalisation, and Greece is showing great vision and ambition in working to ensure that digitalisation of public services is a national priority. The improvement of digital technologies of the Greek public sector will help to strengthen coordination and efficient cooperation across government agencies and public services, while also creating a friendlier environment for citizens and entrepreneurs, and will act as a catalyst to attract further investment in the country. This project represents the first time that the European Investment Bank has supported public sector digitalisation anywhere in Europe, indeed around the world, in a dedicated and targeted programme. Our technical colleagues have learnt key lessons from joint preparations and due diligence that will be shared to strengthen implementation of similar schemes elsewhere in Europe.