Dijsselblom on Greece: ‘too little progress has been made’

Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselblom in his remarks during a news briefing following yesterday’s Eurogroup said: “The Eurogroup […] took stock of the situation regarding the programme of Greece. Regrettable to say that too little progress has been made in the talks between the institutions and Greece That is no agreement has yet is in sight.

Let me recall that at the basis of which we work is the agreement of the Eurogroup of 20th Feb and the statement that we agreed upon in February. In that agreement, there were two kinds of flexibility. One, we said we would allow the institutions to take into account the current economic situation in Greece and if necessary, adjust the fiscal targets and timelines considering the economic situation and the deterioration of this economic situation in Greece.

Second flexibility which we allowed was to replace measures both  fiscal measures and reforms by other measures being put forward by the greeks after having been being assessed by the institutions. So there was also flexibility within the current MoU to replace measures.

The institutions have made used of those two kind of flexibilities during their talks with the Greek authorities. But as we stand now, too little measures that have been put forward and been assessed are to be credible and serious and to be put in a new agreement. Therefore, the talks of the last weeks have not progressed.

Today in our meeting, we sent a strong signal to the Greek authorities that it’s really up to them to submit new, additional proposals in the coming days to fully engage with the institutions, within the framework of the Eurogroup statement of 20th Feb.

As of today, it is still possible to find an agreement and extend the current programme before the end of this month. But the ball is clearly in the Greek court to seize that last opportunity. We feel that an agreement must be credible. It has to be credible from the perspective of sustainable finances and economic recovery in Greece. But also it has to be credible from the point of view of the credibility of our monetary union and the eurozone as a whole. We think that it is still possible but if such an agreement is sent to the Eurogroup in the coming days we will judge it on that: the credibility both of Greece and for the eurozone as a whole.

Finally, let me again stress that time is really running out. The current programme expires by the end of this month, There are of course parliamentary procedures to consider. Therefore, very little time remains.” [Source: European Commission]

On his way out, Dijsselbloem told journalists: “What we need are credible measures that will fill in the fiscal gap which are still in the talks, and credible measures to bring the economy back on track.

Those measure are not popular, they will not be easy to take. And the big question is whether the Greek government is prepared to take them. Becuase they are inevitable and they are necessary for Greece.

And if they are not prepared to do that they are taking a big, big risk on the future of Greece. So I strongly hope that in the coming days they will come up with those proposals.” [Source: The Guardian]

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