The Eurogroup intends to wait for the submission of the Greek state budget for 2019 before examining whether the pension cuts scheduled for January 2019 could be suspended, according to a senior eurozone official, who also explained the pattern of the post-bailout monitoring process.
The timetable provides for the representatives of Greece’s creditors to return to Athens next Monday, when they will have their first discussion with the Greek authorities on the issue. The mission, which is expected to last for four days, will also include the International Monetary Fund.
While the European Commission appears at the moment to be open to the cuts’ suspension, “the final decisions will be made by the eurozone member-states in the context of the Eurogroup,” the eurozone official explained. The Commission has also proposed the suspension of measures several times in the past, but the Eurogroup rejected it each time.
The main purpose of this first inspection will be to hold provisional talks on the 2019 budget and to send a message to the markets that Greece is on the reform path. The official said it is positive that Athens appears determined to reach a deal that is acceptable to the Eurogroup.