EWG president Vijlbrief in Athens: High fiscal targets not a 'punishment' for Greece; sustainable debt the goal

Tuesday, 16 July 2019 14:14
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Eurogroup working group (EWG) president Hans Vijlbrief reiterated to a mostly Greek audience on Tuesday that Greece's primary budget surplus targets are linked with debt relief measures, with reductions in the former necessitating higher economic growth rates in the previous period.

Speaking at the 23rd Economist roundtable discussion with the Greek government, held at a southeast Athens resort, the Dutch official expressed a view that now is not the time to loosen fiscal targets, something that he nevertheless is possible in the coming future.

Vijlbrief said his advice to the Greek government is to fully implement reforms and meet commitments, with less ambitious fiscal targets possibly to follow. Nevertheless, he insisted that he does not see fiscal space to allow the latter prospect at the moment.

Finally, he said high fiscal targets are not a "punishment" for Greece, but instead aim to render its debt as sustainable, "for its own good".

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