EU to Greece: Keep up the grind


On the occasion of the first anniversary of Greece’s exiting its third and final austerity program Tuesday, the European Commission urged the country to continue its efforts to put its finances right, lower the still “unacceptably high” unemployment and heal the social fissures that resulted from the lengthy financial crisis.

Commission Vice President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, Financial Services & Markets Valdis Dombrovskis noted Tuesday that Greece must “continu[e] on the path of responsible fiscal policies and structural reforms, including those aimed at strengthening the Greek financial sector.”

“One year ago Greece completed its [European Stability Mechanism] stability support program to restore financial stability and promote growth and job creation. Greece’s economy has benefited from reforms and the boost in confidence. The growth is steady, unemployment is going down and public finances have improved. It is important to build on these achievements,” Dombrovskis added.

Pierre Moscovici, commissioner for economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs, said: “It is important that all public and private actors work together to secure and sustain a better future for the Greek people. The European Commission will remain by Greece’s side and support its central role as a member of the European Union and [the eurozone].”

The Commission noted on its website that the reforms implemented over the past years “have laid the foundations for an economic recovery, putting in place the fundamental conditions needed for sustained growth, job creation and sound public finances.”

The indicators confirm that “while work remains to be done, the efforts undertaken are delivering tangible benefits,” the Commission said. It cites as an example the reduction of the unemployment rate from a high of 27.9 percent in July 2013 to 17.6 percent in April 2019, the lowest level since July 2011.

“Greece can count on the European Commission’s support in this effort. The country is now fully integrated into the European Semester and the continued delivery of agreed reforms is being monitored under the Enhanced Surveillance framework,” the Commission added.