Draft budgetary plans and the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact
The Eurogroup assessed how the euro area member states are implementing their draft budgetary plans for 2017 and the commitments set out in the Eurogroup statements of 5 December 2016 and 26 January 2017. The assessment was carried out in the light of the European Commission's 2017 Winter Forecast, and does not significantly differ from the assessments made in December 2016 and in January this year.
The Eurogroup agreed to review the situation again this spring.
Thematic discussion on growth and jobs: pension systems
The Eurogroup continued its discussion on the euro area's pension systems. This time ministers looked into the recent analytical work carried out by the European Commission, and agreed to begin benchmarking among the member states.
The benchmarking of the pension systems would be based on a set of indicators (which include the fiscal sustainability of pension systems) and best national practices. The details are specified in the Eurogroup statement.
This topic was last discussed in June 2016, when ministers agreed on a set of common principles for strengthening pension sustainability.
The institutions (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Stability Mechanism) and Greek Minister for Finance Euclid Tsakalotos briefed the Eurogroup on the developments regarding the second review of Greece's economic adjustment programme.
The Greek authorities and the institutions continue aiming for a swift conclusion of the staff-level agreement, based on the common understanding they reached last month. They will hold intensive talks in Brussels in the coming days, focusing on the main outstanding issues. These include the growth-friendly rebalancing of Greece's public finances over the medium term (in 2018 and beyond) and the labour market reform.
A staff-level agreement is a necessary condition for the successful conclusion of programme reviews and therefore for receiving further financial support available under the programme.