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21 February 2015

Eurogroup statement: Greece gets breathing space

But every move will be monitored before cash is disbursed.

The level of distrust is huge: specify the measures; we will examine them to see if they are even a starter for meeting the targets; when we see and agree the detail, then we will give you the money.

The Greek authorities will present a first list of reform measures, based on the current arrangement, by the end of Monday February 23. The institutions will provide a first view whether this is sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point for a successful conclusion of the review. This list will be further specified and then agreed with the institutions by the end of April.  

Only approval of the conclusion of the review of the extended arrangement by the institutions in turn will allow for any disbursement of the outstanding tranche of the current EFSF programme and the transfer of the 2014 SMP profits. Both are again subject to approval by the Eurogroup.” 

Lurking in the background are questions of whether the Greek Parliament will agree and whether the dysfunctional civil service can actually implement and enforce the measures in a way that produces the required results. It may be a 1,000 mile journey – but the most difficult  step has just been taken: the first step (with apologies for misquoting Chairman Mao) towards a genuinely functionning market economy.

© Graham Bishop

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