BUSINESS

Eurostat to confirm the size of 2013 primary surplus

By Sotiris Nikas

Eurostat is expected on Wednesday to ratify the 2013 primary budget surplus, which will serve as the trigger for the further lightening of the Greek debt. The announcement will be the focus of Thursday’s Euro Working Group along with the presentation of a new growth plan for the Greek economy aimed at changing conditions in the country.

Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras stated before Easter that the primary surplus according to the European System of Accounts is about 3.4 billion euros, while according to the bailout agreement calculation mode the primary surplus remains strong at 1.4 billion euros.

The Euro Working Group – i.e. the meeting of the council of eurozone finance ministry senior officials – will convene on Thursday to establish how the Greek streamlining program is going. Sources say that after the passage of the multi-bill last month and various regulations voted through in other bills, Greece has completed over 90 percent of the obligations the government has undertaken through the bailout agreement. This illustrates that the program is well on course.

The confirmed progress of the streamlining program and the definitive primary surplus for last year’s budget fulfill the two conditions set at the November 27, 2012 Eurogroup meeting for the start of talks to lighten Greece’s national debt. They also allow Thursday’s Euro Working Group to approve the disbursement of the next bailout installment of 6.3 billion euros.

In that context Greece’s representative in the Euro Working Group and head of the Financial Experts’ Council, Panos Tsakloglou, will put the issue of the country’s debt on the table at Thursday’s meeting and present his counterparts with the full growth plan the government has drafted.

Online