Greece: state of play
The Eurogroup discussed the state of play of the ongoing first review of the implementation of Greece's economic adjustment programme. Ministers were informed that the institutions' mission chiefs would return to Athens soon.
The Eurogroup called on the Greek authorities and the review mission staff to pursue their constructive cooperation to allow the review to be rapidly concluded. The review covers issues such as pension reform, fiscal strategy and making the privatisation fund operational.
Cyprus: state of play
The Eurogroup exchanged views on the implementation of the European Stability Mechanism adjustment programme for Cyprus, which expires on 31 March 2016. The Eurogroup published a statement supporting the Cypriot authorities' decision to exit the programme without a successor programme.
Cyprus successfully implemented a number of reforms under the programme, including ambitious fiscal consolidation and structural and financial sector reforms. This allowed the country to regain investor confidence and raise liquidity in the sovereign bond market.
The Eurogroup welcomed the commitment of the authorities to sustain the reform momentum.
Follow-up to the 2016 draft budgetary plans
Ministers assessed the progress made by euro area member states in implementing their draft budgetary plans for 2016 and the commitments set out in the Eurogroup statement of 23 November 2015. The Eurogroup issued a new statement.
The draft budgetary plans of 7 member states are considered to be at risk of non-compliance with the fiscal rules of the Stability and Growth Pact. Member states have reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring compliance with these rules.
The Eurogroup will continue to monitor the budgetary situation in the euro area and will address the issue again later this spring.
Benchmarking: concept and application in the euro area
Ministers exchanged views on experiences related to the Eurogroup's thematic discussions on structural issues in the euro area. The aim of these debates is to contribute to and advance the implementation of the recommendations issued to the euro area and its member states under the European Semester.
The Eurogroup agreed to continue these talks, and envisages using benchmarking more widely.
This would allow ministers to learn from one another's experiences in implementing policy reforms and to compare their country's performance in a certain policy area with that of others.
This exercise is particularly relevant for euro area member states, whose economies are interdependent and therefore more liable to be influenced by one another's domestic policies.
Following up on the Eurogroup President's initiative of increasing the transparency of the Eurogroup's work, ministers agreed that, in future, Eurogroup meeting documents would be published shortly after meetings.
These documents will be published unless the institutions which drafted them object. Documents which have not been finalised or which contain market-sensitive information will not be made public.
At its meeting in February 2016, the Eurogroup already agreed to publish the annotated agendas for Eurogroup meetings and the summing-up letters.