Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem
The government is attempting to show that its so-called countermeasures, which are meant to boost growth, are now a given, and that the austerity era is coming to an end, with spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos claiming on Monday that “in the certain case we achieve a primary surplus of 3.5 percent of GDP in 2018,” the countermeasures will be implemented.
In fact, at least two government sources said that the countermeasures will not depend on the 2018 performance but rather on the 2019 projection, which is not at all certain. They added that it is the new austerity measures that are certain, including tax hikes, with only the mechanism left to be agreed on.
This follows the leaking of a document by Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem saying the countermeasures will only apply if there is ample fiscal space for them (i.e. a primary surplus exceeding 3.5 percent of GDP).