The Eurogroup was briefed on developments in the intense talks between the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Stability Mechanism and the Greek government over the past month.
The institutions and the Greek authorities reached an agreement on the main elements of the policy reforms required to move ahead with the second review of the current macroeconomic adjustment programme, which is necessary to unlock further financial assistance to Greece. This agreement refers to the size, timing and sequencing of the reforms.
The institutions will continue technical work in Athens as soon as possible to swiftly conclude a staff level agreement.
Thematic discussion on growth and jobs: investment
The Eurogroup continued its discussion on promoting investment, which it started in July last year, and adopted a statement setting out common principles to guide national policies in this area.
The principles concern improvement of the business environment, increasing the efficiency of public administration, prioritising high-quality public investment to boost growth and potential growth, developing market-based sources of business financing and removing regulatory barriers to private investment.
Banking union: euro area aspects
The Chair of the European Central Bank's Supervisory Board, Danièle Nouy, presented the ECB annual report on supervisory activities in 2016.
The Board's priorities for 2017 include further convergence of national supervisory standards in the banking union, addressing the non-performing loans on banks' balance sheets, which remain problematic in some member states, and improving the profitability of banks and thus their ability to finance the economy.
The Chair of the Single Resolution Board (SRB), Elke König, informed the Eurogroup of the SRB's activities. She reported on the progress achieved in resolution planning and on banks' contributions to the single resolution fund.
Cyprus : post-programme surveillance
The institutions participating in the post-programme review and Cyprus' Minister for Finance Harris Georgiades briefly reported on the outcome of the recent post-programme surveillance mission to Cyprus.
They reassured the ministers that the Cypriot authorities remain committed to continuing sound economic policies. They also confirmed that there was no risk of non-repayment of the loans Cyprus had received from the European Stability Mechanism in the context of its macroeconomic adjustment programme of 2013-2016.