Contrasting views on the state of Greece's adjustment programme
MEPs voiced startlingly different views on the state of Greece’s economic adjustment programme, its impact and the prospects for future negotiations between Greece and its creditors, in a public debate with Commissioner Pierre Moscovici on Tuesday afternoon.
Commissioner Moscovici kicked off the debate on a positive note, going through a long list of reforms that have been pushed through, inter alia in the pension sector and the banking sector, which, he said, “has returned to stability”.
Some MEPs praised the Greek government for having taken difficult decisions and said the Greek people deserve respect for coping with the ongoing painful reforms in their country. Others countered that the Greek government is not doing enough to actually implement the reforms that were agreed on paper and urged the Euro group and Greece to agree on a serious and credible reform programme.
MEPs differed on the economic outlook, too. Some pointed to the improved growth forecasts for next year and the primary budget surplus, whereas others pointed out that the state debt is still growing. Some portrayed Greece as an example of the failure of the single currency, which they said “needs to be abolished” whereas others made the case for debt relief.
Parliament has been involved in the scrutiny of Greece’s financial assistance programme, notably through its Financial Assistance Working Group led by Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT).
Background on the Financial Assistance Working Group
On 21 January 2016, the European Parliament Conference of Presidents (EP President and political group leaders) approved a series of measures to increase the parliamentary scrutiny of financial assistance programmes at EU level. These measures included creating a Financial Assistance Working Group (FAWG) within the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, and fact-finding missions in programme countries.