The Eurogroup welcomed the Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, who has been re-appointed to the post following the elections in Greece on 20 September 2015. The discussion then focused on the way forward in implementing Greece's new economic adjustment programme.
In this context the Eurogroup endorsed the first set of milestones, which Greece needs to implement in order to receive a disbursement of €2 billion. This amount is a sub-tranche of the €3 billion which remain undisbursed from the first tranche of €26 billion, as agreed in the programme.
The Eurogroup encouraged Greece to agree with the institutions on the second set of milestones in the next few weeks. Successful implementation of the second set of milestones would unlock the disbursement of the remaining €1 billion.
The Eurogroup called upon Greek authorities to cooperate closely and constructively with the institutions in order to complete the first review of implementation of the programme successfully and swiftly.
The first review is expected to begin in October 2015.
Services sector reforms in the euro area countries
The Eurogroup agreed that further efforts are needed to boost competition in the services sector. Ministers will discuss this question again once the European Commission has presented its new single market strategy.
Policy in a low interest rate environment
The Eurogroup confirmed that euro area member states should use windfall gains from the currently low interest rates on government debt primarily for fiscal consolidation, and - depending on their specific situation - for investment or structural reforms.
Draft budgetary plans for 2016
The Eurogroup held its first discussion on the process regarding the 2016 draft budgetary plans. The euro area member states are required to submit their plans by 15 October as part of the euro area's fiscal surveillance framework.
The Eurogroup will hold an in-depth discussion on all draft budgetary plans on 23 November, based on the European Commission's opinions.