Draft budgetary plans
The Eurogroup discussed the updated information on the draft budgetary plans. Last December 7 euro area countries' draft budgetary plans were considered to be at risk of non-compliance with the requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact.
"I welcome that again all member states have made firm commitments to do what is needed in 2015 to fully respect the Stability and Growth Pact."Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem
In its statement the Eurogroup noted that the situation improved in Belgium, Malta and Italy and to some extent in Spain and Portugal over the past three months. Eurogroup welcomed the commitment by Austria and France to take the necessary measures to ensure compliance with the Pact.
The Eurogroup discussed the current review of the Greece's commitments under the existing arrangement. Ministers agreed that Greece and the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund would begin discussions on Wednesday (11 March), in Brussels.
Technical teams from the institutions will be welcome in Athens to support this process.
The Eurogroup called on Cypriot decision-makers to implement the foreclosure framework, which would help Cyprus' banks clear their balance sheets and improve lending to the economy. It is one of the requirements that would put the Cypriot programme back on track.
Services sector reform
Ministers discussed the reform of the services sector in the euro area. A number of ministers shared their national experiences of liberalising the service sector and improving its efficiency. The Eurogroup will come back to this discussion in the second half of the year.