On Thursday the 24th of May,the Eurogroup meeting has taken place in Brussels. The institutions and the Greek Minister for Finance, Euclid Tsakalotos, have informed the Eurogroup about the status of the ongoing fourth review of Greece’s economic adjustment program. They have presented the staff-level agreement concluded by the institutions and the Greek authorities on 19 May.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Soundbite (In ENGLISH) by Edward Scicluna, Minister for Finance of Malta saying that: (Do you have any comments regarding the new Italian government?) Overall it will do some good to the European Union and to the establishment because a lot of questions will be asked: why is there all this anger on behalf of the people from some countries. However, it will depend on who the disrupter is and whether they have concrete proposals to reform and get growth growing which is the real remedy. If it is just a question of borrowing and spending, it will be a replay of Greece.
||Soundbite (In ENGLISH) by Petteri Orpo, Finnish Minister for Finance saying that: (Are you worried about what happened in Italy?) I am looking very carefully at what is happening in Italy and of course I am a bit worried but in the same time I want to believe the Italians and to think that they can bring good solutions and that they know that they are responsible for the whole Eurozone because they are a part of the Eurozone.
||Soundbite (In ENGLISH) by Wopke Hoekstra, Dutch Minister for Finance saying that: (The government could be successful in further relaxing EU fiscal rules ?) There is a very good reason that we have the rules that we have. We've agreed on them because it is the believe of all the member states that these rules are on the interest of our citizens and in the interest of the long term well-being of our citizens. Of course it is up to the commission to uphold those rules so I'm not going to interfere with what the commission is saying about it but it is not something that Brussels is forcing upon member states. It is something that the member states have deliberately chosen to have. And there is a clear logic behind it.
||Soundbite (In FRENCH) by Bruno Le Maire, French Minister saying that there is a proposition by the presidency that is balanced. It is the good one. It is the balance point between points of views. They've met with Olaf SCHOLZ for hours and hours about it and they agreed about this proposition. They must adopt it without losing time to take the needed actions. It is deeply needed because they'll have a discussion on the future of the Eurozone afterwards.
||Soundbite (In GERMAN) by Olaf Scholz, German Minister for Finance saying that (What is your opinion on the lastest developments in Italy?) this is a good signal that the one who is likely to be the next Italian Prime minister has adopted a pro-European stance. He said that he wanted to abide by the common European law and rules. The Minister thinks that it is a message that one has to keep in mind today.
||Soundbite (In ENGLISH) by Hartwig Löger, Austrian Federal Minister for Finance saying that: I'm not worried at the moment because I think it is now the time to wait which decision will be taken on the governmental side of Italy and I see it as a positive factor that in-between the next weeks we have the chance to meet and also for the Presidency of Austria for the next month, I think we can also work out priorities and I see Italy as a strong partner also for the future at European level.
||Soundbite (In ENGLISH) by Mário Centeno, President of the Eurogroup saying that: a set of reforms was agreed and will be implemented in the next weeks. This is important because this is a step towards the completion of the fourth program. Good news from Greece. We will also have on the agenda the growth report and spring forecast by the Commission. This also brings good news for the Euro area. The 2017 growth was revised upwards to 2.4%, and we have strong growth in 2018 and 2019. The euro remains a beacon of stability and growth for the world economy, and that is great news for all of us.
||Soundbite (In FRENCH) by Pierre Moscovici, Member of the EC in charge of Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs saying that the topic of today is Greece. They are entering the final stretch before the completion of the Greek program. They have given themselves the objective to complete this program on the 21th of June, during the next Eurogroup meeting. Then, they will be able to finally say that Greece has gone through the program and that the crisis is over. This is why it is very important to talk about that today. They will first take notes of the technical agreement between Greek authorities and the EU institutions. This is a very good signal meaning that the process of reform is still on in Greece and that the Greek fulfill their side of the bargain. Now it is important that the other partners also fulfill their side.
||Soundbite (In ENGLISH) by Peter Kažimír, Slovak Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance saying that: All we have to do now is being patient and to calm down the situation because of course you know that signals are not pretty nice about relations to the Europe, to the Eurozone so Italy is too important for us; I just can hope that new Italian government is going to respect budgetary and fiscal rules and that they are not going to take the Eurozone hostage.
||Soundbite (In ENGLISH) by Román Escolano, Spanish Minister for Economy, Industry and Competitiveness saying that: (On possible contagion effect from bond sales in Italy) I think that the situation of the bonds market on Spain reflects the good fundamentals of the Spanish economy. We have been producing good economic and macroeconomic results. The growth of our economy is yielding great confidence. Yesterday we made a payment to the ESM and that shows the robustness of our economy.
||Soundbite (In ENGLISH) by Paschal Donohoe, Irish Minister for Finance saying that: We're now looking at a Eurozone that is entering into its 20th quarter of growth, that has its lowest level of unemployment now since 2008, with all member states showing either significantly improving national finances or surpluses. So with that in mind, I will be looking forward to working with the new Italian Minister of Finance, but it is important to us and all member states governments are aware of the responsibilities that we have to each other and to our single currency.