Greece, creditors to resume talks in Athens, seek swift deal

Ashley Carr
April 25, 2017

The figure, which includes debt service, marks the first time that Greece has reported a government surplus since Eurostat began recording the indicator in 1995 and comes as the heavily-indebted country and its European creditors are aiming to finalise the terms of its next bailout payment.

This was calculated under European System of Accounts guidelines, which differ from the methodology used by Greece's in bailout deliberations.

Schinas said the surplus, which is subject to final verification, "confirms the trends which we at the Commission have been reporting for a while", and expressed confidence the country can meet its budget targets in 2017 and 2018. But the IMF-EU number is expected to be even better.

Representatives of Greece's bailout creditors are due in Athens to restart talks on further cutbacks, European officials said Monday, as they confirmed that the country previous year far exceeded its budget targets. As for the mid-term targets, "the European Union institutions remain confident that Greece can achieve the surplus targets of 1.75 in 2017 and 3,5 2018".

Athens hopes to discuss the fund's participation and its projections at the sidelines of the IMF's spring meetings in Washington. The IMF's participation is seen as a condition for Germany to unlock new funds to Greece.

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Under the terms of its bailout program, Greece had to reach a 0.5% primary budget surplus in 2016.

In a statement on Friday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she had a "constructive dialogue" with Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos "in preparation for the return of the mission to discuss the two legs of the Greece program: policies and debt relief".

Analysts attributed the outperformance to the implementation of bailout measures and increased efforts to improve the state's revenue collection capacity.

Achieving high primary budget surpluses is key to the third bailout signed by Greece in mid-2015. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said the country strongly outperformed, delivering a surplus of at least 3.5 percent of GDP.

"Therefore, the targets set under the bailout programme for 2017 and 2018 will certainly be attained".

Other reports by My Hot News

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