Dijsselbloem says ‘feasible’ for program review to be completed by end 2017

Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Monday it is “feasible” for Greece’s third program review to be completed before the end of 2017, during a joint press conference with Greek counterpart Euclid Tsakalotos in Athens.

“We discussed for the last phase of the program and it is feasible to complete the third review before the end of the current year. Its completion will unlock the decisions on debt and will help restore investor confidence. In talks I have with investors it is my feeling that this climate already exists,” he told journalists, adding that there should be a clean exit from the program.

The Eurogroup chief said Greece had covered a lot of ground in the past two years and now confidence has returned.

Asked about post-program surveillance, he said it would continue for some years in the same way it did for the other countries that exited their bailout programs, noting it is a standard procedure that works as an early warning system.

Concerning the achievement of fiscal goals by the country, Dijsselbloem said that although he has no clear picture and this concerns mainly the European Commission, he views Greece’s path with a lot of confidence and certainty.

On his side, Tsakalotos noted that the common goal is to leave the program without the need for a new bailout, noting there might be some ups and downs in the 10 months that remain, however the objective is to find solutions.

Asked about the possibility of new fiscal measures, the minister said the budget is balanced because some targets are exceeded, making up for those which are lagging behind.

Concerning the possibility of another foray into the markets, Tsakalotos said the government plans to test markets a number of times before the country exits its program, adding that these moves are not announced in advance.