Centeno: Αgreement for Greece’s exit from the programme at June with “enhanced” surveillance

Mario Centeno, Portugal's Finance Minister and newly elected President of the Eurogroup, holds a news conference at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

The goal is to have a comprehensive agreement for Greece’s exit from the programme at the Eurogroup meeting in June, Eurogroup President Mario Centeno said on Friday after an informal meeting of euro area finance ministers in Sofia.

Speaking to reporters, the Eurogroup’s President said that the heads of the institutions will return to Athens in May 14 in order to reach a Staff Level Agreement (SLA) on the fourth review of the programme, while noting that the institutions had given a good report on the implementation of prior actions by Greece so far.

“We got good feedback from the institutions regarding the implementation of the fourth and final review of the programme. I am happy to announce that the institutions will return to Athens on the 14th of May for their next mission,” he said.

The Eurogroup also welcomed the data on the primary and fiscal surpluses announced by Eurostat. Centeno said these were “encouraging,” particularly in comparison with the picture shown by the Greece in the past.

He noted that a strategic plan for growth presented by Greece reflected the “ownership” of reforms by Greece, a significant move towards recovery, and confirmed that, for the post-programme period, Greece had made it clear it did not want a new programme. He added that discussions will continue on the basis of the recommendations made by the European Commission for “enhanced” surveillance. These talks will include debt relief measures, in order to reach a final agreement for Greece’s exit from the programme at a Eurogroup’s meeting in June, Centeno said.

“We also addressed the post-programme legal framework to prepare for a successful exit from the programme this summer. The final decision on the implementation of the debt measures will be taken, if needed, at the end of the programme, conditional on full implementation of the programme, of course. We also discussed how we can further support the Greek authorities in their continued reform efforts in the years after the programme,” he said.