ATHENS: Eurogroup ministers approved the third review of Greece’s bailout programme on Monday, putting the country on course to exit its bailout in June.
Economic affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici warned that the fourth programme remained difficult, involving 88 more reforms, but he expressed confidence that Greece would get it over the line.
The meeting in Brussels also saw the ministers working to push forward internal reforms of the European Monetary Union, but it became clear that leaders at next week’s summit are unlikely to endorse the more ambitious plans from the French and the European Commission.
Ireland is among a group of like-minded Baltic states and the Netherlands, nicknamed the Hanseatic League, which have urged restraint, notably on the “communitisation” or transfer to commission control of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which provides financial assistance, by way of loans, to euro zone countries or as new capital to banks in difficulty.
EU finance ministers will meet at the Ecofin meeting on Tuesday. Among items on the agenda are new regulations from the commission requiring the disclosure in advance of new “tax planning” schemes by accountants, and their sharing between member states. Ireland strongly supports the measure.
However, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue is expected to join a protest by six other states which were attacked last week by the commission for “aggressive” tax policies designed to undercut others to attract multinational companies.
Mr Moscovici pointed the finger at Ireland, Belgium, Cyprus, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands, arguing that they have engaged in tax policies that undermine the integrity of the European single market.