Finance Min. sources on third EU report: Primary surplus for 2019 on target

The primary surplus for the general government in 2019 will reach 4.1 pct of the GDP, Finance Ministry sources reiterated on Wednesday, in response to the third report on Greece by its creditors released the same day.

The report, following a review in Athens by the institutions, is part of the EU’s enhanced surveillance programme following Greece’s latest fiscal adjustment programme in August 2018. In it, the institutions warned that reform efforts have slowed down in recent months and expressed concern about the future rate of their implementation.

In a response, FinMin sources said that the primary surplus for the general government in 2019 will exceed the target by 0.6 pct and create a fiscal breathing space. As the relief measures voted recently in parliament have been costed at 0.6 pct of GDP, they said, it was certain that the 2019 target will be met.

The same sources pointed out that the European Commission has frequently in the past expressed concern about Greece’s meeting of its fiscal targets, but these concerns have not materialised. The Commission, they said, also plans to review data againin the autumn.

Among other things, the institutions’ report said that Greece made a good start in the post-programme period since August 2018, but the “pace of reform implementation has slowed in recent months and the consistency of some measures with commitments given to European partners is not assured.”

In addition, although there are a few policy areas where reform implementation continues (e.g. some issues related to the cadastre, and Hellinikon’s development), the report added, it also noted a risk that most of the 15 specific commitments for mid-2019 will not be completed on schedule.