Creditors say talks with gov’t focused on fiscal situation, NPLs


The government and its creditors discussed the country's fiscal situation and outlook and the implementation of the strategy to reduce the banks' non-performing loans in their first meeting after the completion of Greece's rescue packages last August, the institutions said in a joint statement on Friday.

The inspection of the mission chiefs ended on Friday, after it emerged that creditors had not given the green light to the government to stop a new round of planned pension cuts next year.

The finance ministry announced earlier that the central government achieved a primary budget surplus of 3.14 billion euros in the first eight months of the year, well above target, thanks to higher revenues and lower spending.

The full statement follows below:

“Staff from the European Commission, in liaison with staff from the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, visited Athens from 10 to 14 September for the first post-program mission to Greece. Staff from the European Stability Mechanism participated in the meetings in the context of its Early Warning System.

Following the completion of the ESM program, Greece is reintegrated into the European Semester of economic policy coordination. The Commission has also activated the enhanced surveillance instrument under Regulation 472/2013 for Greece, effective with the end of the program.

The mission held discussions on the situation and key challenges facing the Greek economy in the post-program period, as well as the state of play and next steps in the implementation of Greece’s commitment to continue and complete the key reforms launched under the program. This included discussions on the fiscal situation and outlook, which will feed into the preparation of Greece’s Draft Budgetary Plan for 2019, to be submitted to the Commission by 15 October, as well as on the implementation of the Non-Performing Loans resolution strategy.

The mission was also an occasion to meet with representatives of political parties, social partners and banks with a view to updating them on the modalities of engagement in the post-program period and exchanging views on key policy issues.

Close dialogue on economic policy challenges and priorities will continue going forward. The first quarterly enhanced surveillance report will be issued in November, together with the Commission’s Autumn Package under the European Semester.”