The European Stability Mechanism’s approval of the disbursement of a 5.7-billion-euro sub-tranche of loans to Greece on Tuesday was “one more step on the path of recovery,” European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici said, in a post on Twitter.
“After the positive conclusion of the 3rd review, the €5.7bn new disbursement to #Greece takes place today. One more step on the path of recovery!” Moscovici tweeted.
Speaking in the European Parliament earlier, Moscovici expressed hope that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European institutions will reach an agreement with respect to their forecasts for the Greek economy, in order to avoid delays.
The Commissioner was replying to a question posed by European Parliament Vice-President and Greek MEP for SYRIZA Dimitris Papadimoulis, regarding the possibility of delays due to disagreements between the IMF and the other institutions.
“In order for the programme to be completed on time, decisions must theoretically be taken at the June 21 Eurogroup, or a little later. In any case, the current deadline is June 21,” Moscovici said.
He repeated that Greek authorities must have completed planning the country’s growth strategy before that time and that this must be “designed by Greeks for the Greeks”, so that it was adapted to the situation in the country, as well as adopting some prior actions in May. Finally, he added, there must be an agreement on post-programme surveillance.
Moscovici also emphasised that the Eurogroup and EWG have not forgotten the need for a debt relief mechanism for Greece and said that this must be combined with the return of growth, while there was also the issue of monitoring Greek banks. Finally, he said the European Commission was working with the other institutions to prepare for the country’s exit from the programme, noting that the fourth review will be definitive for this.
On the differences between the Commission and the IMF over the economic forecasts for Greece, both past and present, Moscovici noted that “they were no secret” and that the Commission’s figures proved to be “much closer to reality” since Greece had made impressive progress, both in terms of primary surpluses and in other fiscal indicators.
In light of this, he expressed hope that the European side will managed to convince the IMF side during the talks they will continue to have, while noting that measures were being taken, growth was returning and the situation was improving.
In his question to Moscovici, Papadimoulis had pointed out that the IMF had still not made up its mind whether to participate in the Greek programme, which was in its third year and just months away from its completion, while voicing concern that IMF objections would be the cause of delays, which in the past had proved damaging for the Greek economy and Greek people.
Pointing out that the IMF’s more pessimistic predictions had not been proved justified, Papadimoulis asked how the Commission intended to ensure the prompt and successful conclusion of the Greek programme and what role the IMF will play after the formation of a European monetary fund.