Monday’s Eurogroup in Brussels will provide the first opportunity for the Greek government to sound out European officials regarding its efforts to create more fiscal space, while discussions will continue in Athens this week regarding the fifth enhanced surveillance review.
The Greek authorities left yesterday’s Eurogroup having secured the release of the profits that eurozone central banks made as part of the SMP and ANFA programmes.
Wednesday’s Eurogroup is expected to result in eurozone finance ministers approving the conclusion of the fourth enhanced surveillance review and the next round of debt relief measures, but will not include a discussion on how Greece can use the bond profits it will receive.
The Greek Finance Ministry announced on Monday that the process of prepaying some of the outstanding obligations to the IMF has been completed after Athens paid ahead of time 2.7 billion euros.
Greece’s debt sustainability was assessed again by the two main institutions tasked with the analysis of the viability of the country’s debt, the IMF as part of the Article IV consultation process published last week and the European Commission in the fourth post-programme review released on Wednesday.
Greece’s new government managed to successfully clear on Wednesday the first major approval hurdle in its brief tenure as the European Commission (EC) published the fourth post-programme surveillance report, concluding that Greece has taken all the necessary steps to meet its mid-2019 commitments.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued on Friday its latest Article IV consultation report for Greece and its assessment of the condition and prospects of the Greek economy.
The Greek government has set its sights on the last Eurogroup of the year, hoping that it will manage to secure from the country’s official creditors higher investment spending through the allocation of SMP and ANFA profits that are due to be released in two tranches next year, and a looser fiscal path from 2021.
The Greek government is hoping to get the all-clear from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) on Monday to make a loan pre-payment to the International Monetary Fund, a move which Athens hopes will boost its chances of convincing its creditors to lower its fiscal targets for the coming years.
European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici has given assurances ahead of his visit to Athens on Friday that the Greek government and the institutions will be able to bridge the fiscal gap for 2020 before the draft budget is submitted to Brussels on October 15.