FinMin Tsakalotos: “This was a very good Eurogroup for Greece”

Now that the third review is complete, there are only a few prior actions that have to be finished before the disbursement of the tranche in February, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said at a press conference in Brussels on Monday.

Following a Eurogroup meeting that approved the third review, Tsakalotos said, “This was a very good Eurogroup for Greece. As you will have already heard (…), the agreement on the third review is complete. There are a few prior actions that have to be finished before the disbursement. Even more significant for the Greek case is that people are now convinced that things have turned round and people are beginning to talk about the future and Greece’s exit from the programme.”

He said that overall the Greek government was “looking to the future with a greater degree of confidence that this third review is over,” and he specified that “the fourth review will not have that many prior actions, because, as you know, it was a very front-loaded programme.”

The important discussions ahead relate to the discussions on debt and the nature of the exit. “It is also an encouraging sign that of the 6.7 bln euros disbursed, 1.8 or 1.9 bln is for helping us to build our buffers so that we can stand on our own two feet after August 2018 and the end of the programme,” the finance minister said.

Tsakalotos pointed out the last paragraph of the Eurogroup statement as being of particular significance: “There is now going to be a working group to do more work on specifying what has come to be known as the ‘French mechanism’ that ties further debt to relief to growth as was agreed in the June Eurogroup meeting.”

The minister said that there was no discussion of a precautionary credit line, adding that the nature of the exit from the programme would be discussed closer to Easter. The 1.9 bln euros in the 6.7 bln disbursement package serves as a credit line, he said.