Kl. Regling: Greece will not need 4th programme if it implements agreements

Provided that Greece implements the agreements already made, there will be no need for a fourth programme after the current bailout programme ends in August 2018, the head of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Klaus Regling said on Wednesday.

“We are working tirelessly for an agreement with Greece and to complete the second review with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Regling said told MPs and MEPs at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Replying to SYRIZA and New Democracy deputies from Greece, as well as MEP and European Parliament Vice-President Dimitris Papadimoulis, Regling expressed hope that a solution will be found in order to conclude the second review of the current programme.

He said that Greece has made progress since the third programme started in August 2015 and reiterated that Greece was a “special case” compared to the other programme countries, as it was in mid-way through a third programme.

“The country recorded good progress in 2014 when its economy returned to growth and regained access to the bonds market,” he noted and added: “Since August 2015, Greece has made satisfactory progress in the framework of the third programme, while 32 billion euros have been disbursed.”

Referring to the measures for further debt relief that ESM has recently started to implement, he said that this is another sign of economic solidarity among EU member states.

Finally, he reiterated that due to “favorable financing conditions,” the country saves 8 billion euros per year, or 4.5 pct of GDP, while the debt will be reduced by 2060 thanks to the new measures and Greece will return to debt sustainability.

Commenting on the discussion about a possible ‘Grexit’, Regling stressed that EU treaties make no provision for a country’s departure from the euro zone and that no one was preparing for such a possibility. He also noted Greece’s good results in terms of growth and public revenue collection.

Summarising the discussion, European Parliament Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee Chair Roberto Gualtieri said that the existence of basic social rights in Greece cannot be considered up for discussion. He urged all sides to work toward a solution for concluding the second review, adding that it would be extremely negative to allow the Greek economy to become derailed once again.

Gualtieri also noted some “contradictions and clashes with the IMF” that could be settled, adding that “the IMF’s new condition does not seem reasonable” and was considered by some contrary to the EU acquis.