Activity picks up over Greek program, debt relief under scrutiny

23 November 2016
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The Greek program will come under scrutiny this Friday in Berlin when finance ministers of the informal Washington Group convene in the German capital, a meeting that the relevant Greek minister will not attend.

The report was carried by the German daily “Sueddeutsche Zeitung” on Tuesday and later confirmed by officials in Athens, who merely referred to a previously scheduled meeting of the informal group.

Nevertheless, the significance lies in the fact that the finance ministers of the Eurozone four biggest economies — Germany,
France, Italy and the Netherlands — will meet with representatives of the Eurozone, the IMF and ECB just days before a crucial Eurogroup session on Dec. 5. The latter is deemed as crucial for the pending second review of the Greek program (third bailout) and for consideration of short-term measures for Greek debt relief.

Any venue that includes representatives of the IMF and European creditors generates attention, given that several variables that affect Greek debt relief, namely, whether the IMF will rejoin the program as a lender; the type of measures and time-frame for implementation; targets for Greek primary budget surpluses after 2018; as well as Athens’ commitments for any agreement on debt relief.

In terms of short-term measures, ESM head Klaus Regling is expected to announce his proposal in the coming days, which will be presented at a EWG meeting on Nov. 28. before being submitted to EZ finance ministers.

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