Greece expects Eurostat to confirm larger 2015 primary surplus

19 April 2016
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Greece expects the European Union’s statistics agency to confirm that last year’s primary budget surplus was larger than projected, the government’s spokeswoman said on Tuesday, an outcome expected to help conclude its crucial bailout review.

“We are in a position to know … that the (Eurostat) report to be released on Thursday will confirm a larger primary budget surplus compared to what had been initially projected,” Olga Gerovasili told reporters.

She said the leftist-led government believes that the positive development will help conclude ongoing talks with the country’s official lenders on a bailout review, which has dragged on for months. Concluding the review is necessary to release a loan payment.

Based on projections in the country’s third bailout deal agreed last summer, the primary budget was expected to show a deficit of 0.25 percent of gross domestic product.

Gerovasili said that additional measures demanded by the lenders to ensure that a 3.5 percent of GDP primary surplus is attained would pose an economic but not a political problem for the government, which has a thin parliamentary majority.

But, she said, Athens would be willing to go that route at a later stage if the 2018 target were to look unattainable.

“If the 2018 fiscal targets are not met, of course we would be obliged to take some extra measures to reach them,” she said.

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