European Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday replied to a letter from Prime Minister George Papandreou on accelerating the disbursement of Community funds to Greece, saying he intends to set up a special task force to provide technical assistance to the EU member-state and to improve absorption of EU structural and cohesion funds.
Barroso also asked Papandreou to name a contact person that will coordinate the efforts of the Commission and Greek authorities to this end, with the Greek prime minister forwarding the name of former top European Commission official Giorgos Glynos.
The first meeting between Glynos and a delegation sent by the European Commission president will take place next week, after the Eurogroup meeting on Monday.
Sources within the European Commission said establishing such a task force will be a matter of "days or weeks", while Barroso has indicated that the team will be led by Commissioner for monetary affairs Olli Rehn, working under his auspices.
Enlisting the aid of experts from EU member-states with experience in international organisations and the private sector, the task force will work in consultation with Greek authorities in order to re-examine the projects that will be partly funded by the EU.
The aim, to be carried out in cooperation with the European Investment Bank, is to abandon programmes that are problematic and present large delays in their implementation, and instead placing emphasis instead on schemes that boost growth, create jobs and promote the better training of human resources in the country.
In a statement later in the day, goverment spokesman Elias Mossialos termed the development as "very positive".
Mossialos confirmed that the prime minister's adviser on European issues, Giorgos Glynos, will be the Greek side's interlocutor with Barroso's office, clarifying that implementation and absorption actions are the responsibility of the ministers.