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20 February 2015

Eurogroup statement on Greece - 20 February 2015

"The Greek authorities will present a first list of reform measures. The institutions will provide a first view whether this is sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point for a successful conclusion of the review."

The Eurogroup reiterates its appreciation for the remarkable adjustment efforts undertaken by Greece and the Greek people over the last years. During the last few weeks, we have, together with the institutions, engaged in an intensive and constructive dialogue with the new Greek authorities and reached common ground today. 

The Eurogroup notes, in the framework of the existing arrangement, the request from the Greek authorities for an extension of the Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement (MFFA), which is underpinned by a set of commitments. The purpose of the extension is the successful completion of the review on the basis of the conditions in the current arrangement, making best use of the given flexibility which will be considered jointly with the Greek authorities and the institutions. This extension would also bridge the time for discussions on a possible follow-up arrangement between the Eurogroup, the institutions and Greece. 

The Greek authorities will present a first list of reform measures, based on the current arrangement, by the end of Monday February 23. The institutions will provide a first view whether this is sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point for a successful conclusion of the review. This list will be further specified and then agreed with the institutions by the end of April.  

Only approval of the conclusion of the review of the extended arrangement by the institutions in turn will allow for any disbursement of the outstanding tranche of the current EFSF programme and the transfer of the 2014 SMP profits. Both are again subject to approval by the Eurogroup. 

In view of the assessment of the institutions the Eurogroup agrees that the funds, so far available in the HFSF buffer, should be held by the EFSF, free of third party rights for the duration of the MFFA extension. The funds continue to be available for the duration of the MFFA extension and can only be used for bank recapitalisation and resolution costs. They will only be released on request by the ECB/SSM. 

In this light, we welcome the commitment by the Greek authorities to work in close agreement with European and international institutions and partners. Against this background we recall the independence of the European Central Bank. We also agreed that the IMF would continue to play its role. 

The Greek authorities have expressed their strong commitment to a broader and deeper structural reform process aimed at durably improving growth and employment prospects, ensuring stability and resilience of the financial sector and enhancing social fairness. The authorities commit to implementing long overdue reforms to tackle corruption and tax evasion, and improving the efficiency of the public sector. In this context, the Greek authorities undertake to make best use of the continued provision of technical assistance. 

Full statement


Remarks by Jeroen Dijsselbloem following the Eurogroup meeting - 20 February 2015


As we concluded already in our meeting on Monday, a request for extending the programme needed to be underpinned by commitments from the new Greek government. They are outlined, part of them in the letter and part of them in the statement upon which we've agreed tonight. I would like to stress a few key commitments: 

  • The authorities have today expressed their strong commitment to a broader and deeper structural reform process and gave their firm commitment to, with immediate effect, refrain from any rollback of measures and unilateral actions that would negatively impact fiscal targets, economic recovery or financial stability which are the 3 key cornerstones of the programme, as assessed by the institutions

  • In addition, the Greek authorities have reiterated today their unequivocal commitment to honour their financial obligations to all their creditors fully and timely

  • On the fiscal side, the Greek authorities have committed to ensure the primary fiscal surpluses or financing proceeds required to guarantee debt sustainability in line with our Eurogroup November 2012 agreement. At the same time, the institutions will, for the primary surplus target for this year, take the economic circumstances into account

On the basis of these commitments given in the letter and in todays statement we will start the process which will hopefully lead to the successful decision on the extension of the programme. The first step, that we've agreed together with the Greek authorities, in this process is to present the first list of their reform ambitions. Reform measures based first of all of course on the current arrangements, but also using the flexibility that is in the programmes. This first list of reform measures should be available and presented on Monday. The institutions will then provide us with a first view whether this is sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point of the process which will ultimately lead to a successful conclusion of the review. So Monday, to summarize - first list of reform measures from the Greek side. The institutions will look at that and give us their first view on whether this is a sufficiently comprehensive as a starting point for the process which will of course in the end hopefully lead to a successful conclusion of the review. 

If the outcome, of course this is our assumption, of that process is positive, that will allow us on Tuesday morning to start the national procedures and that will be the starting point of the formal procedure-decision making. 

This list of the first reforms by the Greek government will later on be further specified, given details and then be assessed and agreed with the institutions, ultimately by the end of April. It can be done sooner and we would welcome it but there has to be an ultimate deadline given also the extension period of 4 months. 

Full press release

Commissioner Moscovici's comments at Eurogroup Press Conference

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