The Commission welcomed today the Council decision to close the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) for Greece adopted at today’s meeting of the General Affairs Council. This decision follows the Commission’s recommendation to close the EDP in July. The Commission made this recommendation on the basis of the substantial efforts undertaken by Greece to consolidate its public finances coupled with the progress made in the implementation of its ESM stability support programme.
The general government balance has improved from a deficit of 15.1% in 2009 to a surplus of 0.7% in 2016. This is well below the 3% threshold set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. According to the Spring 2017 Economic Forecast, the positive fiscal performance of Greece is expected to be durable, with the deficit projected to remain below 3% over the forecast horizon. This progress is in addition to the substantial and wide-ranging structural reform packages that Greece has adopted as part of its commitments under the Greek stability support programme, reforms that are being implemented. Following today’s Council decision, only three Member States now remain under the corrective arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (France, Spain and the United Kingdom), down from 24 countries during the financial crisis in 2011.
Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “Today’s decision by the Council is a recognition of the tremendous efforts and sacrifices the Greek people have made to restore stability to their country’s public finances. The turnaround since 2009 has no parallels in Europe. We now need to ensure there is constructive cooperation between all institutions and the Greek authorities to ensure a smooth and swift conclusion of the third review. That will pave the way for a successful conclusion of the programme next summer and for the opening of a new and optimistic chapter for Greece and for the euro area as a whole.”/IBNA