Scroll Down for Agreement details and Eurogroup Press Conference Live – Stream
THE Eurogroup meeting on Greece started in Brussels with delay due to several meeting of the protagonists Dijsselbloem, Lagarde, Draghi, Varoufakis, Schaeuble.
Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and the rest of EZ-members are sitting opposite Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. The fronts are clear. Germany, Finland, The Netherlands and Spain awaiting for Greece to accept without protest all demands set by Berlin: strict austerity as in the last 5 years, strict austerity ahead, full implementation of the bailout program singed by the previous Greek governments. And at the end “may a bit of vague flexibility”.
Greece has already stepped back from its initial plans like debt haircut etc. and has tabled a long list of commitments it has the intention to fulfill towards its lenders. On Thursday, he sent a letter to Dijsselbloem, i.e. the Greek request for a 6-month extension of the loan agreement, that is the agreement between the debt-ridden country and the EFSF.
However, Germany in general and FinMin Schaeuble in particular have so far shown no sign or will towards a compromise. On the contrary, he would apparently love to see things coming to the edges. Many economic analysts stress that Germany is pushing Greece to exit the euro zone. Yesterday, German finance ministry described the Greek proposal as “Trojan Horse”.
The 19 EZ FinMins will have to decide today on a solution to the Greek-Eurogroup problem.
According to Greek media, Greece has some supporters today like France, Italy and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Ops! And the USA …
Live Blog with latest updates, statements, links, Greek media reports etc:
before the meeting
Jeroen Dijsselbloem: There is still a reason for some optimism.But it’s very difficult.
Other statements from FinMins you can watch here
A pro government rally started outside the Greek Parliament to support the Greek economic team.
Who will pay what should Greece default on its debts, in Euro billions
via German daily die Welt
State NERIT TV just reported from Brussels:
“there are some positive signs an agreement could be achieved today”
Pro government and anti-austerity rallies in Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras.
07: 05 pm
Greek go’t sources dismiss claim by Germany tabloid BILD, that Varoufakis sent …a wrong letter to Dijsselbloem yesterday.
Greek gov’t: Bild report reflects “sick imagination...”
the German Master of Yellow Press and Populism, refers to Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis as “Varoutricksis” and claims to “expose the “cheating of Athens finance minister”.
Bild: “PM Tsipras, Dijsselbloem, Juncker worked out the letter. Varoufakis
took out phrase “under current conditions“.
“Germany and other countries submit proposals for the Eurogroup statement”.
Germany wants from Greece
1) to name the unilateral actions it plans to do 2) to specify in a list the planned reforms
KTG understands the EZ ministers work out the final Eurogroup statement (draft) and that this may undergo changes from its first form.
Anyway, the final EG draft will be thoroughly read by Varoufakis who will then call Tsipras for the green light.
On avance, on avance, on avance..
“we advance, we advance, we advance”
KTG understands that the Greek austerity program will freeze for 4 months and that Germany and the EZ partners want to know what reforms measures Athens will apply during this period.
Greece has allegedly time until Monday to submit a detailed list of the reforms plans to apply within the 4-months
Eurogroup is expected to conclude in half an hour.
Spain, Portugal tried to block the statement.
More details on EG-Greece agreement:
sources: several Greek media
Greece’s measures to focus on:
– combat tax evasion and corruption
– reform the public administration
– address the humanitarian crisis however not with ‘benefits’.
– Greece will have to limit the measures the Greek government declared as ‘official gov’t program.’
– the Primary Surplus target will be ‘flexible’ and according to the revenues.
– At the end of 4 months, there will be progress review by the institutions (former Troika)
“the outstanding progress review of the current program” (scheduled for Jan 2015) is not on the new draft.
see also above, at 8:12 pm
Eurogroup press conference due in half an hour
1o pm GR time, 9 pm Brussels time…
ops! forgot! there were pro gov’t and anti-austerity rallies in Athens and other cities. there were approx 25,000 people in Athens!
There will be a Press conference Live Stream here
or directly HERE! Live Stream – Refresh page.
According to state NERIT TV, “the Eurogroup statement is being clearly written down right now.”
It lools as if they have agreed… depsite objections by some countries.
Press Conference started!!!! Refresh Page and click on Live stream!
1) 4 months extension due to EFSF
2) structural reforms
3) no unilateral action that will burden the fiscal targets
4) first list of structural reforms to be submitted by Greek gov’t on Monday; Decision Monday evening (KTG understands by EU, IMF & ECB)
5) extension until end of April
No more Troika...
KTG understands that there will be exchange of information (maybe via e-mails) and that Greek officials will travel to Brussels to meet with the representatives of the 3 institutions.
TWO PAGE EUROGROUP STATEMENT/ DEAL
The deal p1 pic.twitter.com/kwAd1YUb9w
— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) February 20, 2015
The deal p2 pic.twitter.com/aXZjbvz63b
— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) February 20, 2015
there is not much it can be read here, I will upload the statement as soon as possible
— Giovanna Pancheri (@giopank) February 20, 2015
The Greek side is reportedly ‘satisfied’ that there are no new austerity measures and no reference to “review the previous [i.e. current] program.”
BTW the IMF program ends March 2016 for Greece.
STATEMENT FULL TEXT
20. February 2015
The Eurogroup reiterates its appreciation for the remarkable adjustment efforts undertaken by Greece and the Greek people over the last years. During the last few weeks, we have, together with the institutions, engaged in an intensive and constructive dialogue with the new Greek authorities and reached common ground today.
The Eurogroup notes, in the framework of the existing arrangement, the request from the Greek authorities for an extension of the Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement (MFFA), which is underpinned by a set of commitments. The purpose of the extension is the successful completion of the review on the basis of the conditions in the current arrangement, making best use of the given flexibility which will be considered jointly with the Greek authorities and the institutions. This extension would also bridge the time for discussions on a possible follow-up arrangement between the Eurogroup, the institutions and Greece.
The Greek authorities will present a first list of reform measures, based on the current arrangement, by the end of Monday February 23. The institutions will provide a first view whether this is sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point for a successful conclusion of the review. This list will be further specified and then agreed with the institutions by the end of April.
Only approval of the conclusion of the review of the extended arrangement by the institutions in turn will allow for any disbursement of the outstanding tranche of the current EFSF programme and the transfer of the 2014 SMP profits. Both are again subject to approval by the Eurogroup.
In view of the assessment of the institutions the Eurogroup agrees that the funds, so far available in the HFSF buffer, should be held by the EFSF, free of third party rights for the duration of the MFFA extension. The funds continue to be available for the duration of the MFFA extension and can only be used for bank recapitalisation and resolution costs. They will only be released on request by the ECB/SSM.
In this light, we welcome the commitment by the Greek authorities to work in close agreement with European and international institutions and partners. Against this background we recall the independence of the European Central Bank. We also agreed that the IMF would continue to play its role.
The Greek authorities have expressed their strong commitment to a broader and deeper structural reform process aimed at durably improving growth and employment prospects, ensuring stability and resilience of the financial sector and enhancing social fairness. The authorities commit to implementing long overdue reforms to tackle corruption and tax evasion, and improving the efficiency of the public sector. In this context, the Greek authorities undertake to make best use of the continued provision of technical assistance.
The Greek authorities reiterate their unequivocal commitment to honour their financial obligations to all their creditors fully and timely.
The Greek authorities have also committed to ensure the appropriate primary fiscal surpluses or financing proceeds required to guarantee debt sustainability in line with the November 2012 Eurogroup statement. The institutions will, for the 2015 primary surplus target, take the economic circumstances in 2015 into account.
In light of these commitments, we welcome that in a number of areas the Greek policy priorities can contribute to a strengthening and better implementation of the current arrangement. The Greek authorities commit to refrain from any rollback of measures and unilateral changes to the policies and structural reforms that would negatively impact fiscal targets, economic recovery or financial stability, as assessed by the institutions.
On the basis of the request, the commitments by the Greek authorities, the advice of the institutions, and today’s agreement, we will launch the national procedures with a view to reaching a final decision on the extension of the current EFSF Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement for up to four months by the EFSF Board of Directors. We also invite the institutions and the Greek authorities to resume immediately the work that would allow the successful conclusion of the review.
We remain committed to provide adequate support to Greece until it has regained full market access as long as it honours its commitments within the agreed framework.
The evening ended with a long press conference of Yanis Varoufakis. Main points …will be posted here tomorrow 🙂
Live Blogging ends here.
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