New Europe: Little progress for Greece ahead of 20 March Eurogroup says EU Official

By Irene Kostaki/

“What is technical feasible until 20 March Eurogroup, does not mean that it is politically doable within the next three days that remain until Monday,” said a Eurozone Official on Thursday, ahead of Monday’s monetary bloc finance ministers meeting.

“Colleagues from all institutions are discussing open issues via teleconference and their positions are very far, in a series of issues.”

Europe focuses on second review – IMF on talks over its own programme

According to what the Eurozone Official told to reporters, talks continue in a series of issues and will do so on Friday and over the weekend, before Monday comes. “The further, the better”, said the EU Official.

The same issues that were on the table on 20 February Eurogroup meeting remain, among which the measures to be taken in order to achieve the primary surplus goal of 2019, along with the counter-measures that will be activated if there will be fiscal space – in case of the primary surplus exceeding 3.5%.

According to the EU Official, no visible improvement is there at the moment. “Rumours in Athens are no surprise. Pushing things towards the third review is out of context and reality, I cant’t find the right words to say this.”

“Open issues persist on privatisation and labour market,” said the EU Official. “Without these, I can’t see the review closing.” On privatisation, mainly political issues persist. The supervision of those enterprises, is a difficult issue for the Greek government.

Things could settle within March

“Return of heads of mission to Greece is up to the progress that will be made until Monday,” said the EU Official. Things are not difficult on a technical level, but without [the IMF] getting back to Washington, it will be difficult for the Eurogroup to tell things the way they are. “Aprils first weeks are going to be tough,” adds the EU Official.

Dutch elections: What about Dijsselbloem?

“We take note to the result of the Dutch elections of 15 March, the formation of a new government will take time and until this happens, Jeroen Dijsselbloem will remain minister of finance of the Netherlands ant president of Eurogroup,” said the EU Official.

On the next day, since PvdA, the party of Dijsselbloem will not see its way back to the coalition government, the EU Official suggested that a candidate should be minister of finance or something similar. “However, this does not affect Dijsselbloem’s presidency,” concluded the EU Official.

Source: New Europe