No Eurogroup result ‘not a tragedy’, EU official says

Informal Meeting of EU Finance Ministers in Amsterdam (23 April 2016). [EU2016 NL / Flickr]

If the Eurogroup meeting today (9 May) does not produce any specific results “it’s not going to be a tragedy”, a EU official told EURACTIV Greece.

During the emergency Eurogroup meeting, EU finance ministers are expected to complete a long-stalled first review of Greece’s massive EU-IMF bailout and discuss new debt relief measures at the crunch meeting in Brussels, which follows mass public opposition to the newly-adopted measures in the cash-strapped country.

Greece adopts more austerity reforms ahead of key Eurogroup talks

Greek lawmakers adopted a controversial package of pension cuts and tax hikes as eurozone finance ministers geared up for an emergency meeting today (9 May) to hammer out fresh reforms for Athens to stave off another eurozone crisis.

It is “reasonable” to take some more time, the EU official stressed, adding that EU ministers will seek the right balance to find a solution for the Greek debt.

The European Stability Mechanism will present to EU ministers several options today regarding the restructuring of Greek debt.

Nominal haircuts are excluded and several alternatives will be explored to debt restructuring such lower interest rates or longer maturities.

“But today’s Eurogroup will confirm the progress and lay the ground for the month of May”, the source said, leaving open the possibility of a new Eurogroup meeting before the regular one in the end of the month (24 May).

Greek government sources told EURACTIV that Athens was “optimistic but at the same time careful” regarding the outcome of the Eurogroup. It hopes that during this meeting a first agreement on a €5.4 billion package could be reached as well as a “political commitment” for another €3.6 billion “contingency” measures worth €3.6 billion and debt agreement for the regular Eurogroup meeting on 24 May.

A “painful” process

Sources in Brussels characterized the talks on the Greek debt as a “painful process” both for Greece and other countries as a possible agreement will have to pass through national parliaments amid growing “populism” at the EU level.

EURACTIV Greece was informed that the EU executive today will highlight Greece’s progress on reforms demanded by its creditors.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said yesterday that Greece had “basically achieved” its reform goals.

“We are now at the time of the first review of the programme (to aid Greece) and the objectives have been basically achieved,” Juncker said in an interview in German Funke Mediengruppe.

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