Eurogroup Chief Says Greek Debt Measures Could Not Be Made More Specific



New President-elect of the Eurogroup and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem addresses the media after an Eurogroup finance ministers meeting at the EU Council in Brussels on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.

Greece needs to make as much progress as possible on reforms so that the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) participation in the programme can be decided before the end of the year, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said as he arrived for Monday’s Eurogroup meeting in Brussels. He also noted that medium-term measures for Greece’s debt could not be made specific at present, adding that this was a conversation that could be picked up after the next Eurogroup on December 5.

“For the 5th of December I think it is important to make as much progress as possible so that the IMF has as much clarity as possible on a number of reforms, on the fiscal trajectory for the coming years. And, of course, the next step will be for the IMF to go to their board before the end of the year. That is my purpose for the 5th of December,” he said.

The IMF had promised to go to its board within the current year as part of the agreement reached last May, when the Eurogroup had indicated its readiness to do more in terms of debt relief for Greece and listed a number of options, Dijsselbloem noted. “On that basis the IMF said they are prepared to go to the board before the end of the year,” he added.

At the same time, he ruled out any further commitment on possible medium-term measures for Greek debt for the present. The May agreement had listed a number of possible measures for the medium term but the extent to which they will be necessary was impossible to determine right now, he said.

“It depends what happens between now and the second half of 2018 in terms of economic growth, inflation, and of course the commitment from the Greek government. So that kind of specific clarity on what is actually in the medium-term package is impossible to give. And that was also understood by the IMF in May, when we said that we can only put a figure on it when we are in the second half of 2018,” Dijsselbloem said.

Asked whether an agreement on Greece can be ready by the next Eurogroup meeting, he declined to give a firm reply, noting that the institutions had yet to brief the Eurogroup on the progress made so far.

“As you know, they are in the second review; a number of reforms are part of that second review, so I will hear today how much progress there is and then, maybe, I will be able to answer your question about whether we will be ready on the 5th,” he said.

(Source: ANA-MPA)