The Green Tank for the support of the programs for SMEs and large enterprises in the lignite regions

The Green Tank, as a member of the Monitoring Committee of the Just Development Transition Program 2021-27, voted positively on four new actions to strengthen entrepreneurship in the lignite regions of the country that were specialized by the Administrative Authority of the Program, submitting also comments and recommendations. The invitations for these actions are expected to be published in the next period (February 2024) by the Special Service for Just Development Transition (EYDAM).

The four calls have a total budget of €280 million, of which €130 million aim at strengthening of the investment plans of new, newly established and existing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region of Western Macedonia and Megalopolis, whereas €150 mil. will be used to finance projects of new, under formation and existing large companies that will be implemented in the same areas. The actions aim to create 1,000 new jobs in total (500 from SMEs and 500 from large companies).

The SME programs will subsidize 60% or 70% of the investment plan (depending on the size of the business) of existing, new and start-up businesses. The total amount of the program will be € 65 million for existing businesses and € 65 million for new and newly established SMEs. The minimum subsidized budget of the investment projects is set at €500,000 while the maximum support at €10 million.

Programs for large enterprises will subsidize 50% of the investment plan of existing, new and established large enterprises. The total amount of the program will be € 75 million for existing businesses and € 75 million for new and newly established SMEs. The minimum subsidized budget of the investment projects is set at €5 million while the maximum support at €20 million.

Adding the resources of the four actions amounting to €280 million to the corresponding ones of the other approved actions from the start of the implementation of the Plan (October 2022) until today, resources with a total value of €767.8 million or 47.1% of the total fund (€1.63 billion) have been mobilized.  In addition, for a part of the specialized actions amounting to €411.3 million, the corresponding invitations have been published, while of these, actions amounting to €176.2 million have progressed to the integration stage.

Because the strengthening of entrepreneurship and the creation of new and sustainable jobs are of crucial importance for the local communities in the lignite regions, which are already facing the acute problem of unemployment, the Green Tank approved the four new programs. However, it submitted comments and recommendations for the improvement of the corresponding specialization issues concerning:

  1. The increase in the resources available to SMEs, which must also be the main priority of the Program in accordance with the provisions of the relevant EU Regulation for the Just Transition Fund.
  2. The reduction of the minimum financed budget for new and existing small, medium and large enterprises, in order to ensure better absorption of the resources.
  3. The need to clarify the areas of activity that will be strengthened and to ensure the contribution of subsidized companies to the achievement of the climate neutrality goal.
  4. Better documentation of the geographic distribution of resources between lignite and non-lignite transition regions.
  5. The correction of the results output table in the specialization issue for the support of new SMEs.

The Green Tank’s comments were submitted on 02/01/2024. You can read them in detail here (in Greek).