Eurozone finance chiefs assess Greece bailout progress

Amsterdam (The Netherlands), April 22 (IANS) Eurozone finance chiefs gathered in this city on Friday to assess the Greece bailout progress.

They will also discuss the country’s eligibility for more aid payouts amid escalating efforts to reach an agreement over the economic reforms Athens has to implement to unlock new loans, Xinhua news agency reported.

“There was very good progress in Athens. In my view, we are close to an agreement. This agreement is possible. We need for that to have a credible package of reforms, which are economically adapted, financially sustainable and which are socially fair,” European Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told reporters ahead of the meeting.

“I’m confident that with an effort, an agreement is within reach,” he said.

The commissioner stressed that Greece must meet the targets fixed for the primary surplus in 2018. Athens is expected to achieve a 3.5 percent of gross domestic product target for its primary surplus in 2018.

“The figures given by Eurostat for 2015 go in the right direction,” said the commissioner.

The current review of Greece’s compliance with its bailout is already six months behind schedule.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has demanded that Greece draft legislation on extra austerity that would be implemented if the government misses future budget targets.

These so-called contingent fiscal measures would be in addition to a package of 5.4 billion euros (about $6.1 billion) over the coming three years. A discussion on these measures is expected to be a chief topic at Friday’s meeting.

“I’m hearing good news from Athens,” chairman of eurozone finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem said ahead of the meeting.

Greece had a primary surplus last year that beat the target set in its bailout program, according to the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm.



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