Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the Euro Group, said Wednesday that a decision on the next bailout tranche for Greece will be arrived at by euro zone finance ministers within days.
Speaking a Brussels news conference, the Euro chief said finance ministers from across the currency bloc will meet on Monday on the 130 billion euro ($170 billion) rescue package for Athens after having been assured by Greek officials that they are committed to 3.3 billion euros ($4.3 billion) in spending cuts.
I am confident that the Euro Group will be able to take all the necessary decisions on Monday, said Juncker, who is also prime minister of Luxembourg.
He also said that the now-famous conference call among the 17 finance ministers (in lieu of a face-to-face parley) yielded substantial further progress.”
Senior Greek officials were asked to pledge in writing that they would abide by the terms spelled out in the austerity program approved by the Athens parliament over the weekend, and also find another 325 million euros ($425 million) in spending cuts.
First, we received the strong assurances provided by the leaders of the two coalition parties in Greece's government, Juncker said.
Second, the troika [EU/IMF/ECB] finalized and presented its analysis on the sustainability of Greece's public debt. Third, further technical work between Greece and the troika has led to the identification of the required additional consolidation measures of [325 million euros] and the establishment of a detailed list of prior actions together with a timeline for their implementation.
Juncker cautioned, however, that given the cynical attitude of many European nations about Greece’s ability to commit to stated goals, the Greek government will come under extreme scrutiny.
Further considerations are necessary regarding the specific mechanisms to strengthen the surveillance of program implementation and to ensure that priority is given to debt servicing, he said.
This will strengthen debt sustainability further. I am confident that the Eurogroup will be able to take all the necessary decisions on Monday 20 February.
Greek is facing a financial doomsday – it needs to make repayment on a euro bond by mid-March, or the country faces bankruptcy.
The streets of Athens have exploded in rage over the latest round of austerity cuts.