European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici: Greece has returned to normality

Pension cuts were neither legal nor necessary in Greece, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici said on Tuesday, stressing that Greece has returned to normality.

“We believe that Greece will achieve the primary surplus target of 3.5 pct of GDP,” he noted, adding that the Greek government is planning to achieve this goal without implementing the pre-legislated pension cuts. According to Moscovici, he always maintained that the pension cuts were neither legal nor necessary. “I am glad we prevented further cuts in pensions by 14 pct for 1.4 million pensioners in Greece,” he stated.

On his part, European Stability Mechanism (ESM) chief Klaus Regling stressed that Greece is on the right track and added that it is now clear that the country is out of the programme. He underlined that the two key issues for the euro area, on the basis of which the policies of the Greek government are being assessed, are the stengthening of Greece’s growth prospects and meeting the agreed targets for primary surpluses.

Eurogroup President Mario Centeno expressed content over Greece’s success in meeting fiscal targets for a third consecutive year.

Centeno said that said the Eurogroup discussed the first “enhanced surveillance” report for Greece, which showed “good results”. He added that the eurozone finance ministers welcomed the fact that in 2019 the primary surplus target of 3.5 pct would be achieved for the third consecutive year, which showed that Greek authorities are committed to pursuing a steady fiscal path.

He noted that Greece needs to make more progress in some areas, such as privatisation, debt repayment, bad loans, and goods market reforms. He stressed the importance of Greece continuing the “good work” and the reform agenda in order to have steady growth.