Athens needs to implement the reforms it has committed itself to and act wisely concerning the social policy measures it has planned, according to the message European Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici conveyed on Wednesday to Athens, practically confirming that Brussels is monitoring the handout talk and the delays in the prior actions required for the second post-program assessment with concern.
Without forgetting to heap praise on the government, as he has repeatedly done in the last few months, the French commissioner this time also issued some implied warnings regarding Athens’s conduct.
Concerning the increase in the minimum wage, Moscovici stated that the decisions to be taken will need to be feasible and appropriate, “taking into account the state of the economy and the situation in other countries.” On social measures more generally, he urged caution, saying they should be strong but sensible.
The main idea of his statements was that “it is important to continue on the reform path, that reforms get implemented.”
The commissioner spoke about the upcoming second post-bailout “assessment,” a term the government is eager to avoid due to fears of invoking memories of the bailout period. Referring to the inspection that starts on Monday, he made sure to imply that this is neither a minor process nor that success is certain; he noted that “there is still work to be done” and that it is important for it to lead to positive results in order for the profits of eurozone central banks from holding Greek bonds to be returned to Athens.
“It would be fiscally useful and a positive sign of progress” if that disbursement is made, he noted, estimating the amount due at 750 million euros and asking Athens to help “make this second post-program assessment a success.”
In his meetings with government ministers, Moscovici stated, “We discussed everything,” and made special reference to the significance of the bank sector issues that are clearly of concern to the country’s creditors.