The institutions and the Greek Minister for Finance, Euclid Tsakalotos, briefed the Eurogroup on the state of play of the implementation of Greece's economic adjustment programme.
The Greek authorities intend to complete the milestones, agreed in the context of the programme's first review in a timely manner.
These include 15 measures relating to privatisation, energy sector reform, bank governance and the establishment of the revenue agency. The achievement of these milestones is a condition for a disbursement of €2.8 billion by the European Stability Mechanism
Representatives of the institutions will be travelling to Athens shortly to prepare for the start of the second review of the programme.
Thematic discussion on growth and jobs: the quality of public finances
The Eurogroup exchanged views based on national experiences relating to the government spending reviews. Such reviews are conducted to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of public funds across different categories in a country's budget.
The aim of this discussion is to help member states achieve a more growth-friendly composition of member states' budgets.
The Eurogroup adopted a statement outlining the common principles for improving expenditure allocation.
Ministers also agreed to regularly discuss this topic and intend to come back to it in the first half of 2017.
Current fiscal issues
The Eurogroup confirmed that the euro area member states should submit their draft budgetary plans for 2017 between 1 and 15 October this year.
Such a timeframe will ensure that draft budgetary plans are assessed on a comparable set of macroeconomic assumptions. A pragmatic solution will be found for countries that have a caretaker government.
Later in the autumn, in line with the established practice, the Eurogroup will hold its yearly in-depth discussion on these plans, based on the European Commission's opinions.
Ministers briefly looked into the ongoing excessive deficit procedure for Spain and Portugal. In July the Council decided that neither country had taken effective action to correct its excessive deficit within the established deadlines. Subsequently Portugal and Spain were given new deadlines and are expected to take effective action by 15 October. The Council also adopted Commission proposals to cancel the fines that Spain and Portugal would have had to pay for not correcting the deficits in time, according to the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact.
Ministers also noted the good progress made in the ongoing work to simplify the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact.