A Eurogroup meeting on Wednesday gave a green light to the transfer of SMP-ANFA income equivalent amounts and the reduction to zero of the step-up interest margin on certain loans to Greece worth 767 million euros in total.
According to sources, the Greek government also managed to secure approval of its request that post-bailout Eurozone profits from Greek bonds are used to boost investment in the country, instead of debt repayment. Details of how this scheme will work will be discussed between Athens and its international creditor institutions in coming months.
Eurogroup president Mario Centeno said Greece was on the Eurogroup agenda “for good reasons” as the reports of the European Commission on the implementation of reforms by the country is “quite positive”.
“All participants at the Eurogroup acknowledged the good course of the economy, the progress, the filling of the gaps and the coverage of the pledges the previous government had left pending, and the positive momentum; the disbursement of the second package of measures for the easing of the Greek debt amounting to 767 million euros was also decided,” Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said.
The Eurogroup discussed the implementation of the reform commitments by Greece based on the fourth enhanced surveillance report as published on 20 November. In a statement, the Eurogroup said it welcomed confirmation by the institutions that Greece is projected to comfortably meet the primary surplus target of 3.5% of GDP for 2019 and the adoption of a budget for 2020, which is projected to ensure the achievement of the primary surplus target and which includes a package of growth-friendly measures aimed at reducing the tax burden on capital and labour.
Moreover, Athens’ reform efforts were praised, with its Eurozone partners pointing to “significant progress with broader structural reforms, notably in the area of the labour market, digital governance, investment licensing and the business environment.”
In terms of risks and challenges, the statement said it will be crucial for Greece to maintain, and where necessary accelerate, reform momentum going forward, including through determined implementation of reforms on all levels.
The Eurogroup will next discuss Greece based on the fifth enhanced surveillance report expected to be issued in February 2020./ibna