The short-term measures adopted by the Eurogroup this week to relieve Greece’s debt could start being implemented from January 2017, the managing director of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), Klaus Regling, said in an interview with Greek news website capital.gr, published on Friday.

“Eurogroup adopted the proposals I made on Monday – the whole package. It will start being implemented from this point onward. We need some formal legal decisions by our boards, but this will happen in the next few weeks. And then the implementation will start. Some of the measures that can be implemented quickly are to extend the weighted average maturity of loans from 28 to 32.5 years. We can probably do this in January,” he was quoted as telling the financial news website.

Asked whether Greece will be able to gradually return to the markets in 2017, Regling reiterated his view that this could happen if the implementation of the program is continued.

“I have said before that there is a good possibility for this. I cannot say exactly when. I agree with what I’ve heard from the Greek government. That there must be a bond issue before the end of the [bailout] program, which is in August 2018,” he said. ”

Concerning the progress in the ongoing second program review and why there was no staff-level agreement at the Eurogroup, the head of the ESM said significant progress was made and institutions will continue their work with the Greek government.

“We already have a common view on some issues, as the Eurogroup made clear in its statement and as the president of the Eurogroup said in the press conference. In particular, there is agreement with the European institutions on the 2017 budget which confirms the main target for a surplus of 1.75 percent of GDP,” he noted.

“But we still don’t have a full agreement on 2018. There’s a small fiscal gap for the achievement of the agreed targets for 2018. And we have to see more reforms for boosting growth and cost competitiveness, such as opening closed professions and removing obstacles to investment. Also, the administration of the privatization fund is not yet in place,” he added.

mm
The Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA) (Greek: Αθηναϊκό-Μακεδονικό Πρακτορείο Ειδήσεων, AΜΠΕ) is a Greece-based news service. It is a public entity anonymous company. It was founded in 2008 as the Athens News Agency - Macedonian Press Agency S.A. (ANA-MPA SA), under a presidential decree which merged the Athens News Agency (ANA SA) and the Macedonian Press Agency (MPA SA).