Eurogroup: taking stock
© European Union 2013
At their meeting on 4 March 2013, euro area finance ministers meeting in the Eurogroup took stock of the economic situation in the euro area. They also continued the discussion of European Stability Mechanism (ESM) matters, focussing on the direct bank recapitalisation instrument.
Ministers took note of the Commission's Winter forecast (pdf) that, as Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem stated at the press conference, "shows that decisive policy action has been undertaken and is gradually paving the way for a return to sustainable growth and job creation in the euro area".
Regarding the situation in Cyprus, the Eurogroup was informed that there is an agreement with the new government to the effect that there will be an independent evaluation of how the anti money-laundering framework is implemented in financial institutions in the country. Ministers are "confident that a swift conclusion of the negotiations towards a Memorandum of Understanding can be reached".
On Greece, the Eurogroup noted that the 'milestone' for February as agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), has been achieved. The Greek authorities were called upon to keep the reform momentum, as regards both the March milestones and beyond.
Ministers also discussed the state of play as regards the adjustment programmes for Ireland and Portugal. They noted that both are on track, and that both countries have taken successful steps to re-enter the markets. They agreed the following day, together with other EU finance ministers, that the Troika should propose the best possible option regarding the adjustment of the maturities of the EFSF and EFSM loans to each of these two countries.
As regards the direct recapitalisation of banks, ministers made progress in relation to the eligibility criteria and retroactivity. They envisage a final agreement on all open issues in this area by June.