Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem welcomed the progress achieved at a political level on the issue of Greece’s debt, and expressed his belief that conditions will be ripe for achieving a comprehensive agreement at the next Eurogroup on June 15.
“We are very close to an overall agreement, however that was not possible today,” he said during a joint press conference with European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici and the head of European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Klaus Regling.
“We have not reached an overall agreement on that part of our discussion. In the coming weeks, we will continue our work on that. We will try to come to a definite conclusion in the next Eurogroup meeting which will be in three weeks’ time. We will use that time well to work hard with the institutions and all member states involved,” he said.
Dijsselbloem said huge progress has been achieved concerning the policy package and a lot of work has been done in the past few months between Greece and the institutions, noting that Eurogroup commended Greece for having implemented a vast number of prior actions.
“We have made huge progress on the policy package on which so much work had been done in the last months and on which an agreement had been reached between Greece and the institutions. The Eurogroup, of course, welcomed that very much,” he said.
He also said the Eurogroup is committed to work further until the next loan installment has been disbursed. “We are very close to the official conclusion of the second review […] We made great progress on a political level and deliberations will continue aiming to conclude the review and disburse the tranche before the summer,” he said.
Dijsselbloem said the IMF today also made it clear that they welcomed the progress made. “They are impressed by the reforms and the work done by the Greeks and they still stand ready to go to the board. But they will also wait for the final discussion that we hope to have in 3 weeks’ time, in the next Eurogroup, on the issue of debt,” he added.
In the coming weeks, the institutions will examine all the possible proposals concerning debt relief, he continued, noting that whatever measures are agreed on, they can only be implemented after the end of the review.
“Today we discussed in which ways we can have debt relief so that the IMF can participate. We also agreed that the primary surplus must be of five-year duration. Our aim is for the IMF to remain in the program and keep funding it,” he said.
On his side, Moscovici said that “we didn’t reach an agreement but the work done is definitely useful,” he said.
“We welcome the reforms Greece has already done,” he added, noting the country has completed 104 of the 140 reforms Greece had committed to. “As soon as the rest [reforms] are completed the review will be considered closed.”
On Greek debt, Moscovici said that the institutions had long discussions. He also said Greece is already meeting all the conditions for an exit from the excessive deficit procedure, adding that this exit will take place after the completion of the program review.