On an official visit to Greece ahead of the launch of a third review of the country’s third international bailout next month, Eurogroup leader Jeroen Dijssebloem on Monday said he believed Greece could complete pending reforms by the end of the year with a view to a “clean exit” from fiscal supervision next year.
Greece is on a “good path” to completing the latest round of bailout talks by the end of the year, Dijsselbloem said, referring to “very strong” fiscal performance last year and this year.
In a joint press conference with Dijsselbloem, Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said the key goal was “to leave the program without the need for another program,” adding that Greek authorities planned to test international bond markets “several times” before exiting the bailout.
In an exclusive interview with Skai TV aired last night, Dijsselbloem acknowledged that creditors had had problems with the current government initially but that the relationship has significantly improved since then.
“We had a lot of trouble keeping everything on track,” he said when asked about the first half of 2015. Referring now to “a completely different period,” he said creditors were working constructively with the government and noted signs of economic recovery and trust returning.
Asked about the next bailout review, Dijsselbloem said it should be done by the end of the year. “All our interests are aligned. Let’s get it done. Let’s finish this phase,” he said, adding that the next step is “final exit next August.”
Speaking at a conference organized by The Economist later on Monday, former US Treasury secretary Jack Lew called for the continuation of reforms as well as an agreement for restructuring the country’s debt.
Dijsselbloem hailed Lew for his help during the Greek crisis, specifically for “kicking some asses when needed.”