Brussels kept its distance from the statements of ESM chief Klaus Regling in relation to Greece. His statements regarding his concerns for the achievement of the 2019 fiscal targets in Greece, due to the government’s handouts, were made under his own responsibility without any conciliation with the other institutional bodies that make up the institutions. This information was stated by European sources, which also noted that the head of the ESM probably rushed to position himself, as the institutions have not yet completed the evaluation in order for there to be a full picture of the budgetary impact of the measures.
These statements do not benefit anyone at a political level, especially in a pre-election period for Europe. On the one hand because of the fear that it would favour extreme trends in Germany and other countries, bringing back a sense of crisis, and on the other hand because the current reality in Greece is that it is not in a programme, and therefore the assessment of the relief measures is happening with a specific process and is being led by the European Commission. This process is still ongoing, so there is no clear evidence of the impact of these measures in the medium and long term.
The position of Moscovici
The Commission’s position was clearly expressed by Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, who wished to make clear that the assessment of the measures will take into account, in addition to the budgetary impact, their contribution to the restoration of social justice, while last week he also stated that the tactic for surpluses can not continue forever. In turn, the Eurogroup president Mario Centeno put things in their place, saying that Greece is obliged to keep its commitments, but we must not forget that it has already given indications of very good returns.
In this context, K. Regling surprised his interlocutors (since none of the ministers wanted to take a stance in the meeting) talking about an increase of the spreads and even doubting the achievement of the primary surplus target for 2019. These words seemed to be excessive, as shown from his own answer to a related question, where he was obviously trying to step back, as he admitted that the Greek government does not question the 2019 target and that the discussion for 2020 has not opened yet./ibna