BUSINESS

Eurogroup warns Greece over review delays, ex-ELSTAT chief's case

ELENI VARVITSIOTIS

TAGS: Economy, EU

Eurozone finance ministers meeting in Tallinn on Friday sent a clear message that Greece needs to speed up the completion of its third bailout review, while also warning of the negative fallout from the continued prosecution of the ex-chief of the country's statistical authority.

EU Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem made specific reference to the negative consequences of the judicial battle waged against former ELSTAT chief Andreas Georgiou on the reliability of the agency's data, while the head of the European Stability Mechanism, Klaus Regling also warned of the effect on investors.

“Across the room in the Eurogroup, great concern was expressed about the ongoing court cases, the effect that it has internationally on the confidence in Greece and the process of modernization in Greece, including the independence, of course, of ELSTAT itself,” Dijsselbloem said.

“That concern was underlined and stressed. But of course the judicial procedures will go their independent ways,” he added.

Responding, meanwhile, to a question about whether additional measures will have to be taken in 2018 if fiscal targets are not met by Athens, Moscovici said that the Commission is monitoring the situation closely and has confidence in the Greek authorities, but also that they must ensure that all the measures outlined in the bailout agreement are implemented.

“Technical teams are at the moment in Athens, fact-finding and preparing the ground, so that later on the third review can get off to a quick start,” Dijsselbloem said. “The idea is to finish that before the end of the year. More work needs to be done of course on a number of issues, some of which were already mentioned today.”

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