World Economy

Greece’s Bailout Success Vital

Greece’s Bailout Success VitalGreece’s Bailout Success Vital

Greece’s bailout performance review is progressing well and its timely conclusion will be a key factor in including the country’s bonds in the ECB’s asset buying scheme, European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said on Saturday.

“It is in the interest of the Greek economy that the review is completed in a timely way,” Coeure told newspaper Efimerida Ton Syntakton in an interview, Reuters reported.

Greece’s official creditors are assessing its performance against reforms and fiscal targets set in its bailout program of up to €86 billion ($91.02 billion) agreed last summer, its third since its debt crisis exploded in 2010.

The Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers is scheduled to meet on Dec. 5 to take stock of the progress made and set a timeline for the completion of the review.

Greek government officials said this week that there were still differences between Athens and its lenders on fiscal targets and labor and energy reforms.

Coeure said it was “vital” for Greece that the financial aid program which ends in 2018 succeeds, noting that a fourth bailout “is not an option anyone is considering”.

He said that the ECB did not have a precise timeline on including Greek government bonds in its asset buying scheme, a move Athens has high hopes for as it would help it regain market access before the bailout ends.

“This (QE inclusion) is a decision taken independently by the Governing Council of the ECB. Program developments and clarity on debt measures are an important input given our concerns about debt sustainability,” Coeure told the paper.

The ECB’s Governing Council would base its assessment also on an internal analysis, taking into account other risk management considerations before making the final decision, Coeure said.

“The inclusion of Greek bonds in the PSPP could be an important signal that reforms are on track and debt is being put on a more sustainable footing,” he said.

While the aim of the bailout program is to restore Greece’s full access to international capital markets by mid-2018, this cannot be achieved without strong commitment by the government to stick to the path of reforms, he said.

“The ECB supports the need for debt measures in line with the Eurogroup agreement. The nature of the measures is for the euroarea member states to decide,” he said.

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