Greece has entered final stages of its program, says Eurogroup head Centeno

Mario Centeno, Portugal's Finance Minister and newly elected President of the Eurogroup, holds a news conference at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Greece has entered the final stages of its adjustment program and the progress made in the fourth review shows the country is committed to reforms, Eurogroup President Mario Centeno said at a press conference on Monday evening, following a meeting of the Eurozone’s finance ministers.

“We have now entered the final stages of this ESM program and I’m confident that Greece will implement all remaining deliverables to conclude the program successfully,” he said, adding that the Eurogroup commended the country for completing the third review.

Work on the fourth and last review is already under way with the institutions and this progress shows Greece’s strong commitment to the program and to continued reforms, he said.

The ESM Board of Directors is now expected to approve the first disbursement of the fourth tranche, a total of 5.7 bln euros, in the second half of March, after national procedures have been completed.

He said the finance ministers are also expecting Greece to deliver in April a long-term growth strategy which will be a crucial element of the post-program framework which will be determined closer to the end of the program.

Centeno said that completing all commitments is a condition for any additional debt relief. “We were informed that technical work on the so-called growth-adjustment mechanism is going well. The aim here would be to recalibrate the profile of Greece’s EFSF loans to adjust future debt repayments to the growth performance to ensure debt sustainability. We will have a more elaborate discussion on this and on other debt measures in our April meeting,” he explained.

European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Pierre Moscovici said “there is no time to lose”, adding “we are 100 days from the key Eurogroup of June 21” when a comprehensive package for Greece will have to be decided on that will include the growth strategy that will be presented by the government in April, the measures on Greek debt and the type of surveillance post-program.