The post-bailout landscape for Greece will dominate news in the country in the months to come. Following the European Commission’s downward revision of its forecasts for growth in Greece, both for 2018 and in 2019, analysts point out that there is considerable work to be done to arrive at the end of the bailout program in August.
According to the European Commission, only forecasts for the unemployment rate are considered positive, as other primary indices for the Greek economy fell short of projections. Greek GDP is expected to increase by 1.9% in 2018 and 2.3% in 2019. The previous forecasts for the ongoing year, in November 2017 and February 2018, placed GDP growth at approximately 2.5%. The European Commission also forecasts that the country’s debt in 2018 will reach the levels of 2017, namely, i.e. at 177.8% of GDP and 170.3% of GDP in 2019.
After the release of these latest expectations, Eurogroup Chairman Mario Centeno told Kathimerini newspaper in an interview that Greece must stick to economic reforms. “Greece needs to implement the 88 prior actions and the next mission will be a step towards closing the review. That will lead to the final disbursements and determine under what conditions Greece will be exiting the program. We have to make all possible efforts along the lines we said before to allow the IMF to be on board. That should be clarified in the course of May.”
Meanwhile, Greek Finance Minister Tsakalotos downplayed expectations for a post-program loosening of obligations. “The Greek government’s position is that this is not a good time for such a discussion,” he said in response to a question about the possibility of avoiding pension cuts slated for 2019. Tsakalotos added that the government currently focuses on concluding the fourth bailout review, striking a deal on post-program surveillance and finding a solution to the debt issue…. / IBNA