President of the Eurogroup, Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno at the start of a Eurogroup Finance Ministers’ meeting at the EU Council, in Brussels, Belgium, 19 February 2018. EPA, OLIVIER HOSLET
The implementation of the Greek programme will be the first order of the day when Euro area finance ministers convene in Brussels at 16:00 Greek time, in a meeting also attended by Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos.
The Greek economic adjustment programme is the first item on the official agenda, which notes that “the Eurogroup will be informed of the progress achieved in implementing the remaining prior actions under the third review of the Greece’s economic adjustment programme.” It also stresses that full implementation of the prior actions is a precondition for the disbursement of the next tranche of financial assistance available under the ESM programme.
In its previous session, the Eurogroup expressed satisfaction with the implementation of almost all prior actions for the third review and instructed the Eurogroup Working Group to verify the full implementation of remaining prior actions on the basis of the review by the European institutions.
Once full implementation of prior actions and national processes – for example, ratification by national parliaments – is complete, the board of the European Stability Mechanism is expected to approve the disbursement of the fourth tranche of loans under the programme.
Of the 110 prior actions of the third review, only two that are of a “technical nature” now remain following the submission of binding offers for DESFA last Friday. These concern the site of the former airport at Elliniko, where a decision by the Council of State is still pending and the progress of electronic auctions. The latter, however, are linked with a tranche of 1.0 billion euros and their progress will be examined in April, so the current loan tranche is expected to be disbursed.
The institutions’ mission are expected to return to Athens on Tuesday, while the heads of missions are due to arrive on February 26 to launch the start of the fourth review of the Greek programme.