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European Commission Remarks At The Eurogroup Press Conference On The Greece Agreement

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Open Eyes Opinion {source: EC}

Greece ESM

Vice-President Dombrovskis’ opening remarks at the Eurogroup Press conference

Brussels, 14 August 2015

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On behalf of the European Commission, I would like to welcome today’s Eurogroup agreement on a new three-year ESM program for Greece.

This is the result of intense work over the past month between the Greek authorities and the Institutions – the European Commission, the ECB, the IMF and the ESM.

I would like to thank the staff teams, who have worked tirelessly to make today’s agreement possible.

We believe that today’s agreement is essential to lift the uncertainty which has been hanging over the country for the last half a year and to regain.

This is a solid and comprehensive deal, supported by the Institutions and endorsed by the Eurogroup just now.

The uncertainty that Greece has been facing over the past half a year has, unfortunately, also had negative effects on Greek economic performance.

We expect recession of 2.3% in Greece this year instead of 2.5% growth, which we projected our last the winter economic forecast. It is important that we turn this page, gain economic confidence and gradually return Greece to growth.

Correspondingly, we had to adjust the fiscal path, or primary balance targets, over the coming years. These are 0.25% primary deficit this year, then moving to a primary surplus of 0.5% of GDP for this year; 1.75% for 2017, reaching 3.5% for 2018 and beyond. This is going to be the medium-term primary surplus target: 3.5% of GDP.

The total amount of the program is up to €86 billion. This includes a buffer of up to €25 billion for any potential bank recapitalization or resolution.

Of course, the agreement is not just about financing; it is also about the important structural reforms which are necessary to secure economic recovery, financial stability and to return to job creation and investment.

We believe that it is also a fair and balanced deal.

As the Commission has been advocating, the thread of this program is one of fairness, addressing the major social challenges in Greece and safeguarding the most vulnerable in society.

Now what is important is swift follow-up and full implementation. This is the key to success of the program. This requires strong ownership by the Greek authorities.

This morning’s vote in the Greek Parliament is another encouraging step, adopting a significant set of new legislation that will form an integral part of the program.

Implementation of the program will be monitored by the European Commission, in liaison with the ECB and together with the IMF, as set out in the ESM Treaty.

The European Commission is committed to supporting the Greek authorities as they reform their economy, not least through dedicated expertise and technical assistance, but also through financial assistance amounting to €35 billion, which is available for Greece from the EU budget until 2020. The European Commission is ready to help Greece to make the best possible use of this funding.

It is in all our interests to see Greece return to financial stability and economic growth which also enables it to better address its social challenges.

We are confident that national procedures and the final agreement will be completed by 19 August, as decided in today’s Eurogroup, allowing the disbursement of the first tranche on 20 August.

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[photo credits: “Psalida Samiopoula” by The original uploader was Efpalinos at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Pitichinaccio.. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Psalida_Samiopoula.jpg#/media/File:Psalida_Samiopoula.jpg]

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