The Eurogroup council of eurozone finance ministers opened the way on Monday for the return of the heads of the creditors’ missions to Athens on Tuesday, with the aim of completing the bailout review by end-April.
Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos spoke of a very good meeting in Brussels on Monday, noting that the creditors have agreed to return to Athens despite the differences between the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund. He added that the Greek side is looking forward to the completion of the review for talks to begin on lightening the Greek debt.
“I am sure that sensible people, when they sit down at the table, will find a sensible conclusion,” said Tsakalotos.
Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said after the meeting that “more work is required,” noting that a gap on the fiscal issues remains that must be plugged, while reforms have to go deeper.
The Dutch official added that for the agreement of last summer to be implemented, the Greek government must make a greater effort and in return the Eurogroup will make political decisions regarding the lightening of the Greek debt: He said the talks on the debt could take place soon.
Dijsselbloem noted that for the target of a primary surplus of 3.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2018 to be attained, a more “solid” package of measures will be required, adding that part of the solution could be measures for the lightening of the debt. He went on to explain that the main parameters in a discussion on the debt would be the reforms in the pension and tax systems and the fiscal measures to be taken.
Pierre Moscovici, the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, said the Commission is ready to participate in talks on the Greek debt, and estimated that the bailout review could be completed soon, as this would be in everyone’s interest. He echoed the view by the head of the European Stability Mechanism, Klaus Regling, that the review could be finished by Greek Easter Sunday on May 1.