Eurozone waits for elections, rules out renegotiation

Eurozone waits for elections, rules out renegotiation

Eurozone officials were calm on Saturday about the potential outcome of the general elections in Greece but made it clear that the next Greek government should not expect to be in a position to renegotiate parts of its bailout agreement.

For the first time in around seven months, the Eurogroup meeting that took place in Brussels was not mostly focused on Greece. In fact, the official statement at the end of the talks made only a small reference to the Greek program.

“[The Eurogroup] is confident that the new government, which will be formed after the general elections later this month, will work constructively with its euro-area partners and the institutions to implement Greece’s new economic adjustment program, agreed in August,” it said.

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem underlined the need for preparations to continue while Greece waits for a new government to be elected so there will be no significant delay in the review process.

“I think that it’s important that in Greece the preparations continue while the political situation is of course unclear at the moment,” said Dijsselbloem, who is also Dutch finance minister.

“The work needs to continue as much as possible and the same would go for the institutions,” he said.

He was adamant that renegotiation of the deal sealed last month is “not possible.”

Caretaker Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis assured his counterparts that any non-legislative work is being done in Athens so that no time will be lost once a new government is in place, sources said.

European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici noted that Greece has a lot of milestones to meet in October, particularly drafting a plan for pension reform and the budget for 2016.

“We must be ambitious on the timing of the first Greece program review, without being any less ambitious on the substance,” said Moscovici.

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