Dijsselbloem: Progress being made in Greece’s second program review

Talks between the Greek government and the institutions are continuing in Athens as part of the second program review and progress is being made, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said after a Eurogroup meeting on Monday.

“The second review is ongoing. Cooperation between the institutions and the Greek authorities is reported to be fruitful, progress is being made. It is in everyone’s interest to finalize the second review as soon as possible,” he told journalists during a joint press conference with European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Pierre Moscovici and Klaus Regling, Managing Director of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

He said the next Eurogroup on the Dec. 5 will hear more from the ESM on possible short-term debt relief measures and the important reforms that are part of it – labour market and social system reforms, as well as the fiscal trajectory for the coming years (2017, 2018).

All this must take place before the end of the year, he continued, when the IMF’s board is expected to meet to decide on Greece, adding that Poul Thomsen, Director of the IMF’s European Department, reconfirmed this.

On his side, Moscovici said the institutions’ mission chiefs will return to Athens next week to continue the negotiations with the Greek government on issues relating to the business environment and the modernization of public administration.

“We don’t want to minimize the complexity of what remains on the table but I’m quite confident that a good agreement can be found relatively quickly,” he said, adding he will visit Athens at the end of November.

“If we do that, it sends a strong signal of stability and confidence for the next year which is when growth will recover in Greece as our coming forecasts we expect will confirm,” he said.