NEWS

Eurogroup mulls 'enhanced supervision' for Greece

TAGS: Politics, Economy, EU

Given that Greece does not intend to ask for a post-bailout agreement such as a precautionary credit line, eurozone finance ministers are examining what shape the “enhanced supervision” of the country will take after its financial aid program ends in summer, according to Eurogroup President Mario Centeno.

Speaking at Friday's Eurogroup in Sofia, Centeno said that if Greece insists on a clean exit from the program then the “conversation” it will have will be with the markets.

“What has been so far a conversation between the Greek government and the institutions and the Eurogroup will become a conversation between the Greek government and the capital markets, which is quite a different discussion,” he said.

Centeno also said that “the Eurogroup will decide in June all the elements that can help facilitate the Greek exit from the bailout program.”

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank stressed the importance of concluding Greece’s bailout review on time and the need for a strong commitment from Athens to implement reforms in the post-memorandum era.

“The only message we can have here is ‘the stronger, the better,’” said ECB board member Benoit Coeure. The French economist said the growth strategy Athens is preparing is part of a confidence-building exercise and called for “front-loaded” debt relief.

“Strong and credible debt measures are an essential part of it. The more front-loaded they can be, the more automatic and less conditional, the more they can contribute in a confidence-building exercise between Greece and capital markets,” he said.

With bailout monitors due to return to Athens on May 14, the government’s aim is to reach a staff-level agreement without delay.

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos sought to dampen criticism he faced for saying that Greece will come under strict surveillance after the bailout.

“We will have enhanced surveillance that will have nothing to do with a precautionary credit line,” he said. He also presented a post-bailout growth plan to his eurozone peers, saying it was well received, although there are indications that creditors harbour concerned.

Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said Tsakalotos did not refer to a “non-clean exit” but to supervision.

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