Monday’s Eurogroup in Brussels confirms that the return of Greece’s lenders to Athens is not likely; the new round of negotiations in Athens have been postponed for the moment and further negotiations are to continue in Brussels.
Eurogroup chief Jeroen Djisselbloem commented after the end of the meeting that much work and progress has been made, but there are still open issues. He added that it is uncertain about whether they will have discussions completed by the next Eurogroup on April 7.
French Commissioner Pierre Moscovici noted that high expectations must exist on the date of the agreement. “If negotiations are accelerated then we can come to a joint decision. Recovery is needed now more than ever, however, it should be based on the program’s success,” he concluded. In addition, Mr. Moscovici emphasized the need for the IMF to participate in the program and added that “we need to move quickly. To show that Greece is on the path of reform.”
Before entering the Eurogroup, German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, commented that there is a need for a common agreement on a technical level. “There are some difficulties, but we will move in this direction,” he said. “We could have finished earlier, however, we will proceed to resolve it.”
French Finance Minister Michel Sapen stressed that the current situation in Greece has nothing to do with 2015, emphasizing that Greece needs stability, investors and a clear picture.
There may be more meetings this week in Brussels, if Greece agrees in principle to open issues, especially labor.