Commissioners to MEPs: "Successful review Greek Programme within target"
Commission Vice-president for the Euro Valdis Dombrovskis and Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici debated the latest state of play of the negotiations on the Greek assistance programme with Members of Parliament's recently set-up Financial Assistance Working Group (FAWG) on Monday evening in Strasbourg. A delegation of the FAWG visited Athens last week for a fact finding mission.
Mr Dombrovskis told MEPs that the negotiations were "intense and ongoing" and that "a successful review of the current programme is within target". "Recent data show that the Greek economy is more resilient than last year's winter forecast anticipated. Greece has done a lot since last summer, but there is no time for complacency", he added.
Mr Moscovici underlined the importance of the involvement of the European Parliament through its Financial Assistance Working Group, headed by Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT). He confirmed that the budgetary target for Greece remains a 3,5% primary surplus in 2018. Most of the savings should come from a global reform of the pension system (1% GDP), personal income tax reforms and measures against tax avoidance (1% GDP) and other savings (1% GDP). "Asking for additional efforts at this stage would have a negative effect", Mr Moscovici said.
Debt relief on agenda IMF spring meetings next week
Greece will be on the agenda during next week's spring meetings at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington. Mr Moscovici said that the question of debt relief - will be on the agenda as well.
Asked if the Eurogroup is speaking with one voice and about the role of the IMF in the negotiations, Mr Moscovici said that the involvement of the IMF is essential. He also said that decision-making is not subjective as the negotiations are based on the Memorandum of Understanding of August last year, which serves as a roadmap for all the parties involved.
But "nominal haircuts red line"
Both Commissioners warned against unrealistic sustainable debt analysis. Vice-president Dombrovskis said that the Eurogroup comes back to this question after an agreement on the current package will be reached, but he underlined that nominal haircuts are a red line.