Greece can return to markets this year if reforms stay on track, ESM’s Regling says

The disbursement of loans to Greece is likely to take place in early July, European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Managing Director Klaus Regling said on Wednesday, after a meeting with Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos in Athens.

He also repeated that Greece could return to the markets this year or in early 2018 “if there is progress on reforms and the programme is fully implemented.”

Asked if he was satisfied with the implementation of reforms in the Greek programme, Regling replied: “We have seen progress, some times there are delays but we are happy with the package of reforms that has been agreed.”

After his meeting with Tsakalotos, the ESM chief was received by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the Maximos Mansion.

Later on, Greece has covered a lot of ground and “the cuts and painful measures are now behind us,” Klaus Regling said during his meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

“Now you can concentrate on strengthening the prospects for growth. This is the new target and it is good for the Greek economy and the Greek people,” he added, in a brief conversation with the prime minister in front of television cameras at the start of their meeting.

“Our common target now is to regain the confidence of the markets and to be able to finish the programme in mid-2018, so that we are not in the difficult position of needing further disbursements from you,” Tsipras replied.

“I think you are on a good track in this direction,” Regling responded, while adding that he did not see any need for further loans after mid-2018 and noting that Greece “should be standing on its feet” by that time if all goes well.

Everything will depend on continuing good cooperation, he added, “for which we are well prepared” and on cultivating confidence, because the markets were carefully monitoring both Greece’s relations with the institutions and whether the reforms were continuing to be implemented in the framework of the agreement.

During the discussion, Regling noted that there was roughly another year of the programme left and this time had to be used well. He pointed out that the ESM was due to make further disbursements next year, in addition to that in July, and that these would be contingent on the implementation of prior actions and reforms.