Greece is well on track to exit the ESM programme in August, Eurogroup chief says

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 is well on track to exit the ESM programme in August,” Eurogroup president Mario Centeno said on Wednesday, addressing the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.

“Greece has gone through the most difficult stages,” Centeno said adding that the Greek economic figures are encouraging. “Growth has returned since 2017 and the country is about to tap the markets,” he explained.

Centeno said that the Eurogroup has agreed on the conclusion of the third programme review and that Greece has met all but two of the prior actions, while the overall review is positive. He explained that as soon as these two prior actions are fulfilled, ESM will proceed with the next disbursement, part of which will be channeled to the setting up of a cash stock that Greece will need after the programme.

“If current policies continue, Greece is well on track to exit the programme in August,” the Eurogroup president stated.

Centeno stressed that in the coming months the Eurogroup should look at the smooth return of Greece to a “sustainable market-based financing”. He noted that following the unanimous commitment of the Eurogroup in June 2017, the technical work on debt relief measures has begun.

The “ownership” of the policies is the key to the succesful exit from the proramme, Centeno said, adding that it is important for Greece to follow a responsible policy for the management of its public finances, as well as a long-term growth strategy that he will present at the Eurogroup.

In conclusion, he said that the framework to be followed after the programme must be established so that Greece stands on its feet and leaves the years of the crisis behind.