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05 October 2015

European Council: Remarks by J. Dijsselbloem following the Eurogroup meeting

Eurogroup's President Dijsselbloem talked about Greece, services reforms, Draft Budgetary Plans and fiscal policy in a low interest rate environment.

[...] First let me fill you in on Greece. We took stock of the latest developments. Of course we welcomed the swift formation of the new government. And welcomed the strong commitment of the Greek authorities to implement the programme. A lot of work remains to be done in the coming months. So it is very important to maintain that strong reform momentum. And I think maintaining that attitude of reform is crucial to regain trust inside and outside Greece. So it is crucial for economic recovery. The next set of milestones, prepared by the EWG, have been agreed and they will, once they are implemented, hopefully by mid-October, unlock the next disbursement, of €2bn out of the remaining €3bn. The next set of milestones to unlock the €1bn will have to be agreed later in October. [...]the recapitalisation of the banks would have to take place. But once again, a lot of work needs to be done, and finalizing the first review is key in this respect.

Secondly we discussed today services reforms. It is a key challenge for euro area Member States. You know there is still a lot of potential extra growth if we could finalize and complete our internal market and services sector. [...]Major challenges ahead: we are happy to hear the Commission has announced a single market strategy and they will put ambitious proposals forward this autumn and we will revert to this topic focusing on sectors which are particularly important for the finance ministries and for the functioning of economic and monetary union.

Finally, some fiscal issues. As you know we will be discussing Draft Budgetary Plans in a dedicated meeting on the 23rd November. Some Draft Budgetary Plans have already been submitted to the Commission. First one was Spain, which has to do with their elections late this autumn. We have had a short discussion about the procedure of earlier submission and the Commission will come back to that to make extra clear that there will always be equal treatment of countries. [...]

Finally, we discussed today fiscal policy in a low interest rate environment, which has some good sides and some down sides. [...]

Full speech

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