Centeno warns of Greek vulnerability

TAGS: Finance

Greece remains vulnerable to domestic and external shocks, the head of the Eurogroup, Mario Centeno, warned on Tuesday. The Portuguese finance minister also told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency that restoring its credibility in the credit market will be a gradual and not automatic process for this country.

Centeno called on Athens to continue implementing the reforms of the bailout program even after its completion, adding that the eurozone will examine its strategy regarding the post-program framework later, along with the easing of Greece’s debt.

The Portuguese official stopped short of making any pledges about the debt lightening, sticking to the letter of the Eurogroup decision. Referring to the country’s access to the markets, Centeno stated that “if the conditions are fulfilled for the further easing of the debt at the end of the program, the Eurogroup – as has unequivocally been agreed – is ready to assist in this process.”

He added that “all additional measures on the debt will have to be analyzed at a technical level. They will only be adopted if the two conditions are fulfilled: The program has to be completed successfully and the debt easing will have to be necessary for the Greek debt to be considered sustainable. This is why we need an integrated analysis by the institutional bodies; at the moment that has not come.”

Centeno said Greece is a “unique case in the eurozone,” implying that it is in this context that its exit from the bailout program will be examined. He added that “the end of the program will constitute a new political reality for Greece. Whatever the framework of monitoring agreed, Greece will regain control of its policies. Yet just as with every other European [Union] country, such policies will have to be compatible with the European framework.”

He said he is not interested in Greek election results, but revealed that the EU is concerned about the political agenda in Greece: “I would just recommend to Greece to continue on its own reform agenda,” Centeno stated.