FinMin Tsakalotos: The second review of Greece’s programme would proceed very rapidly

Greece’s Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Tuesday said he was confident that the second review of Greece’s programme would proceed very rapidly, in statements after the end of the ECOFIN Council. The EU finance ministers’ meeting had not discussed issues relating to Greece at all, he clarified.

“I am confident that we will proceed very quickly at this time,” he said, noting that he expected each review to be easier than the one before, as was the case with other countries.

“Greece stands to gain by rapidly implementing the programme,” Tsakalotos commented when asked whether Greece was ready to implement the prior actions that will unlock 2.8 billion euros in loans in the autumn and begin the second review. Delaying the process would profit Greece nothing, he added, and Athens must not be seen to be the culprit if there are delays.

Regarding a letter that he had recently sent to the institutions on how to improve cooperation between the Greek authorities and the staff-level teams, Tsakalotos said that this mainly referred to procedural issues that will be discussed in a preparatory discussion with the institutions ahead of the second review.

On the decisions taken by the ECOFIN Council on Tuesday to launch excessive deficit procedures for Portugal and Spain, Tsakalotos said that Greece had argued against this. Noting that both countries showed improved performance and were “on the right track”, Athens said it was not the right time for an EDP, either economically or politically but this view did not have a sufficiently large majority to block the European Commission recommendation.