EU Scraps 3.5 Percent Surplus Target for Greece Due to Coronavirus Emergency



Eurozone finance ministers decided on Monday evening to scrap the primary surplus target of 3.5 percent of GDP for Greece this year in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today’s (yesterday’s) decisions fully meet Greek positions and priorities,” Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said following a Eurogroup video conference on the economic response to the coronavirus.

In particular, Greece has secured fiscal flexibility similar to that applied to all eurozone member-states, as noted by Eurogroup President Mario Centeno.

“We all agree that of course Greece will also be able to make full use of the flexibility with the fiscal rules to deal with the consequences of the coronavirus,” Centeno said.

Asked subsequently about fiscal restraints in Greece as a result of post-program surveillance, Staikouras noted that “we have decided to make full use of the flexibility available to all member-states.”

In this context, the Finance Minister said there will be no primary surplus target of 3.5 percent of GDP for Greece this year, while spending to counter the effects of the coronavirus will be excluded from fiscal performance calculations.

At the same time, officials also recognized the need to also exempt costs for tackling the migration problem, Staikouras said.

The Finance Minister said that additional important measures will be announced in the coming days.