Not the time to discuss Greece after bailout, Commission says

14 February 2018
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Greece and its creditors will discuss the appropriate type of post-programme surveillance of the country or any support arrangement “at the appropriate time”, a European Commission spokesperson told EURACTIV.com.

“We do not wish to speculate or make further comment on that form at this time […] the precise details of any post-programme support arrangement, and the appropriate type of post-programme surveillance as provided for in EU law, will be discussed at the appropriate time,” the EU official said.

According to the Commission spokesperson, Greece has made substantial progress under the ESM stability support programme and further work on the reform commitments is taking place in view of the months to come.

“All partners are currently working to ensure that the programme can be concluded successfully this summer.”

The Commission remarks came in response to EURACTIV’s request for a comment on Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras’ support of the idea that Greece should be inducted into a “precautionary credit line” after the end of the bailout.

According to the central bank chief, this would help boost investor confidence and drive borrowing costs down, although such a framework would probably come with new conditions for the country.

But the Greek government does not share this view and instead backs a “clean break” from lenders.

It also says that the precautionary credit line is not needed as the country’s credibility has been restored in recent years. In addition, the Greek economy will be backed up by a protective “cash-buffer”, the government has said.

“There may be stronger monitoring, as was the case in Portugal and Cyprus, but we will have much more freedom and we need to let the society know how we intend to use it,” Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said on 13 February.

Tsakalotos recalled that Eurogroup’s decision last June said Greece should return to the financial markets with capital stocks.

“It would be stupid to have two buffers […] no serious person would suggest both.”
Tsakalotos stressed that Greece’s economic indicators were on the rise and the three successful returns to markets show that the planned exit from the bailout after August will be successful.
Last July, Stournaras said it was “early” for Greece to make a comeback to the markets. The Governor of the Bank of Greece had asked for 3-4 privatisations instead of a foray into the markets, in order to strengthen investors’ confidence.

“His assumption was not confirmed,” Tsakalotos said.

Relations between the government and Stournaras, who was appointed by the previous right-wing New Democracy government, are not easy.

Government officials and Stournaras often bicker over the country’s future economic course and ruling Syriza politicians say his statements dampen positive sentiment in the economy.

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