EU Commission: Greece primary surplus well above target in 2016

EU Commission: Greece primary surplus well above target in 2016

This was calculated under European System of Accounts guidelines, which differ from the methodology used by Greece's in bailout deliberations. But the IMF-EU number is expected to be even better.

Greece's 2016 primary surplus was 4.19% of its gross domestic product-more than eight times higher than its bailout target, according to Greek officials.

Greece far exceeded its worldwide lenders' demands for budget savings a year ago, official data showed on Friday, outstripping even 2017's target and presenting a strong case for unlocking more bailout funds. "Therefore, the targets set under the bailout program for 2017 and 2018 will certainly be attained".

Bailout inspectors from the International Monetary Fund and European Union institutions are expected to return to Athens next week to discuss how big future primary surplus levels should be and whether to further cut pensions and job protection rules.

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Standing differences remain, in fact, between the IMF and European creditors, especially Germany, over the course of the Greek program, with the Fund making it clear that it will not return to the program unless clear measures for debt relief are listed. "We discussed about the debt, the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP) and how to achieve the staff-level agreement", Tsakalotos said as quoted by the Athens News Agency.

Under the terms of its bailout program, Greece had to reach a 0.5% primary budget surplus in 2016.

"Therefore, the targets set under the bailout programme for 2017 and 2018 will certainly be attained". Either way, it far overshot the initial target of 0.5 percent of GDP.

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