The third review is progressing smoothly, says EU spokesman Margaritis Schinas

The third review of the Greek programme is progressing well, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Friday, speaking to Greece’s public broadcaster ERT. Schinas called it a “model review” and underlined that the discussion on post-memorandum Greece will now begin.

Asked about the prospects of a Precautionary Credit Line after Greece exits the current programme, he said that it was one of the possibilities envisioned by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). “It is one of the possible paths to the future but in any case, an agreement that there will be recourse to such a path is required first,” he noted.

Questioned about the challenges facing the EU, Schinas agreed that the continent had faced difficulties over the last three years but noted that, by the end of this period, it had proved itself stronger than either its enemies believed or the doomsayers had predicted.

Commenting on the deliberations for the FYROM name issue, meanwhile, Schinas said that the country’s prime minister Zoran Zaev “seems to have understood something simple, which Europe has said many times in the past. That there is no room for nationalism, irredentism and statues in the Balkans and, in any case, whoever looks forward to a European future should leave all these things behind.”

Regarding refugee issues, the Commission’s representative said that the criticism over its management of the migration issue in the last two and a half years was not justified. “We have built a protection system on our external borders, we can separate those people who need protection and asylum from those who are illegal and must be sent back to their own countries. We have the agreement with Turkey and the European Coast Guard and we have very high funding for the countries of first arrival. We have approved approximately half a billion euros only for Greece,” he said.

Concluding, Schinas underlined that some member-states must assume their responsibilities with respect to the fair distribution of the refugees within Europe. “We are working so that we have a new agreement in June that will resolve the last pending issues on the management of migration and refugees” he said.