ECONOMY

EU Commission VP signals Greece’s exit from enhanced surveillance in August

EU Commission VP signals Greece’s exit from enhanced surveillance in August

Greece may be able to leave the regime of enhanced surveillance in August, the European Commission’s executive vice president said in Athens on Friday.

Speaking via video link at a press conference with Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, Valdis Dobrovskis said that the 14th enhanced surveillance report must be completed first, noting that this appears to be on the right track.

The decision to end enhanced surveillance and disburse the final €750 million tranche of debt relief, which has been pending since 2019, will be formally taken in June, while the disbursement is expected to be paid by the end of the year.

Staikouras said that Greece, with the early repayment of IMF loans, took another step forward despite the current difficulties. He noted that the country also received the first funds from the Recovery and Resilience Fund (RRF) on Friday, which it can use to mobilize investment, support small and medium-sized enterprises and strengthen the economy towards a more open model.

Asked whether Greece must achieve a primary surplus of 2.2% of GDP by 2023, Dobrovskis said that the new landscape would have to be taken into account.

Regarding a possible extension of the general escape clause in 2023, Dobrovskis reiterated that the current decisions provide for its maintenance only for 2022, but the situation will be reassessed after the release of the Commission’s latest forecasts on May 16.

Staikouras reiterated the Greek proposal to exclude defense expenditure from the deficit, or at least for amounts that are above the European average not to count toward the debt or the deficit. [AMNA]