“Greece is turning the page”

There is wide consensus that Greece is turning the page, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said in Brussels late on Monday, following the conclusion of the Eurogroup meeting that saw the approval of the staff-level agreement (SLA) for the third review of the Greek program.

“It was a very good meeting for Greece during the first session of today’s Eurogroup, because all institutions made very positive comments for the fast approval of the SLA with the institutions,” Tsakalotos said about Greece and its lenders.

“It was also a very good meeting because Klaus Regling, the head of the European Stability Mechanism, announced the results of the short-term measures for the debt and stated clearly that it was an improvement on expectations, as the reduction of the debt by 2060 will have reached 25 pct of the debt-to-GDP ratio, instead of the 20 pct assessed originally,” he noted.

(Earlier, Regling had released a statement saying that the short-term debt relief measures for Greece over the course of 2017 have been successfully implemented.)

The Finance minister added, “Overall, it was a very good session; a lot remains to be done, but Greece is now turning the page, and it is even more significant that there is wide consensus that this is happening.” He added that he expects “an even better meeting on January 22.”

In other comments, Tsakalotos hailed the election of his Portuguese counterpart in the presidency of the Eurogroup, and wished him the best. Mario Centeno, he said, will be very successful and enjoys wide support in the Eurogroup.

Eurogroup chief satisfied with agreement

Outgoing Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem expressed satisfaction that a staff-level agreement on Greece had been achieved promptly, in a doorstep statement as he arrived for the Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on Monday.

“It is excellent we have an agreement on time,” commented Dijsselbloem, adding that Eurozone finance ministers will now discuss the next steps, the prior actions that must be implemented and the decision-making process going forward, which will include ratification by national parliaments and the European Stability Mechanism.

He also clarified that the size of the next installment of loans to Greece will not be discussed on Monday: “It is something that will be decided later,” he said.

Moscovici: SLA an ‘encouraging message’ for swift conclusion of 3rd review

The staff-level agreement reached on Saturday in Athens is an “encouraging message” for a swift conclusion of the third programme review and the successful completion of the Greek programme, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici said on Monday.

“At today’s Eurogroup I will inform the ministers about the staff-level agreement reached during the weekend in Athens,” said Moscovici. He noted that the agreement was reached after a series of “constructive talks” between the Greek authorities and all institutions, “including the IMF.”

“There is clear willingness for this review to proceed smoothly and effectively and to be completed in time, that is, to have a deal before Christmas,” the French Commissioner noted, adding that it is “very positive” that the Greek government intends to meet all the prior actions “as soon as possible.”

“The rapid progress made is a good indicator for the next steps and, of course, sends a positive signal to investors. Things are moving in a positive direction in Greece, so I think it is a very good day for Greece’s relations with the EU and for Greece itself,” he concluded.


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