Friday’s crucial Eurogroup meeting is underway in Brussels to discuss the 3rd bailout program for Greece, after the Greek parliament passed the terms of the new memorandum of understanding (MoU) earlier Friday, which had been agreed between Greece and EU institutions on Tuesday.
There was an overall sense of optimism among Eurogroup Finance Ministers arriving at the building. Even German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble hinted at the possibility of an agreement on the new Greek plan, a development that would mean a first payment from the ESM package would be released to Greece. “I believe we will come to a positive result”, said Schauble. He added that the IMF had to make a clear commitment about if it would participate in the new plan, stressing that Germany was always of the opinion that it should be part of the new Greek program.
On his part, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem also expressed hope that a deal could be reached by the end of the meeting, adding that it would not be a brief meeting, as many issues had to be closely examined. On the issue of the sustainability of Greek debt, Dijsselbloem underlined it would be discussed in October. He added that the establishment of the 50bln Euro Asset fund, along with the participation of the IMF in the new program were two matters of interest at the meeting. “We hope at the end of the day there will be a positive result”, he said.
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said Greece had done what was asked of it by the EU, while he echoed the views of the Eurogroup President that the Greek debt would be reassessed in the Autumn. He added that a debt relief would be ‘oxygen’ to the Greek economy.
Finnish Finance Minister Alex Stubb told reporters he would be very surprised if a deal wasn’t reached to approve the Greek bailout deal today. European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said there is a possibility of reaching an agreement today for the support program to Greece. “We believe the agreement will be a basis for Greece’s economic recovery, provided the program is fully implemented”, he said.
Slovakia’s Finance Minister Peter Kazimir said Greece must fulfill its commitments before it can get any debt relief.