“The goal is to have a comprehensive agreement for Greece’s exit from the programme at the Eurogroup meeting in June, Eurogroup President Mario Centeno said on Friday after an informal meeting of euro area finance ministers in Sofia.
Speaking to reporters, the Eurogroup’s President said that the heads of the institutions will return to Athens in May 14 for the fourth review of the programme in order to reach a Staff Level Agreement (SLA) and noted that the institutions had given a good report on the implementation of prior actions by Greece so far.
The Eurogroup also welcomed the data on the primary and fiscal surpluses announced by Eurostat. Centeno said these were “encouraging,” particularly in comparison with the picture shown by the Greece in the past.
Commenting on the strategic plan for growth presented by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos at the Eurogroup meeting, Centeno said he noted that the plan reflected the “ownership” of reforms by Greece, a significant move towards recovery, and confirmed that, for the post-programme period, Greece had made it clear it did not want a new programme.
He added that discussions will continue on the basis of the recommendations made by the European Commission for “enhanced” surveillance. These talks will include debt relief measures, in order to reach a final agreement for Greece’s exit from the programme at a Eurogroup’s meeting in June, Centeno said.
Greece’s growth plan includes among others:
- actions to speed up the administration of justice
- enhance the efficiency of public administration
- improve the business environment.
European Monetary Affairs, Pierre Moscovici stressed “There is good progress but there is still work to be done” adding that the results in the fiscal sector are good, particularly regarding the primary surplus and the return to growth of the Greek economy.
Like Centeno, the EU Commissioner stressed the need for “post-program surveillance” which will
will ensure that the reforms will carry on. “We want Greece to become a normal member of the eurozone with full access to the markets and full rights,” he said.
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that Greece was in much better situation than a few years ago.
Euclid Tsakalotos said “We are pleased, it has been stressed that everything will finish on 21. June. We will have an enhanced surveillance that will have nothing to do with a new credit line how much more with evaluations. There will be no prior actions, no tranche releases, no program.”
Speaking to financial Times a day earlier, Tsakalotos mentioned that European Union monitoring missions to Greece would likely be more frequent after the country’s memorandum expires in August than in other post-bailout countries. “It is likely to be a case of three or four visits instead of two,” he said.
In a short statement, the Eurogroup summarized the meetings results:
All in all, everyone seems pleased about Greece’s progress, except for main opposition, conservative New Democracy with its leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis urging once again, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to call snap elections in autumn.
Oh and the Greeks are not happy. Those Greeks who who saw their pensions cut to absolute minimum, those workers who struggle for 3 euro per hour mostly on part-time contracts and those taxpayers who can no longer fulfill their obligations neither towards the state nor towards their own basic needs as they have dried out of money.
Today, Friday, the e-auction for debts to the state have been launched. At risk are also first residence homes for debts over 500 euro.