Open letter to the European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici on Greek debt relief

36 Members of the European Parliament addressed an open letter to the European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici on the Greek macroeconomic situation and prospects for future negotiations within the Programme. They urge him to support the IMF’s call for measures on debt relief: “debt relief discussions, as part of the agreement, have to be opened as soon as possible, concluding by the end of the year with a clear road map for debt relief for Greece”.

The international press reported about it:

European – Euronews, 13.10.2016:
France – l’Humanité, 13.10.2016:
France – le Figaro, 13.10.2016 :
France – Ouest France, 13.10.2016 :
Belgium – Le Soir, 13.10.2016 :
Greece – Avgi, 14.10.2016:
Greece – Efsyn, 14.10.2016:

Below is the open letter sent by MEPs to the Commissionner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Pierre Moscovici, and his official answer:

Pierre Moscovici

Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs,

Taxation and Customs

Brussels, 13 October 2016

Dear Commissioner Moscovici,

Following the discussion on the «Commission Statement – Macroeconomic situation in Greece, structural reforms and their impact, as well as prospects for future negotiations within the Programme», that took place on Tuesday 4th of October in the Plenary of the European Parliament, as Members of the European Parliament, we would like to underline the importance of debt relief and the need for concrete measures which are going to strengthen Greece’s economic, social and environmental development.

Greece urgently needs to leave behind the vicious circle of recession and deflation, and move forward with policies that enable both public and private investments and creation of high quality jobs. The responsibility for this lays upon both the Greek government and the Institutions. Whereas there is a consensus today among leading economists regarding the need for debt sustainability, yet among the Institutions there are diverse views how this sustainability can be achieved. As you are aware, the IMF has a presented different analysis from that of the EU institutions on this matter. The resulting uncertainty hampers Greece recovery.

Any further delays regarding the beginning of a concrete and conclusive dialogue on debt relief could have devastating results on the Greek economy and counteract even the modest decrease of unemployment and poverty levels and delay any improvement of the social and economic situation for the coming period.

On 23rd September, the IMF has declared further debt relief based “realistic assumptions about Greece’s ability to generate sustained surpluses and long-term growth” will be needed in order to restore sustainability. Debt relief is an important step of the effort to put an end to Greek crisis. Debt relief discussions, as part of the agreement, have to be opened as soon as possible, concluding by the end of the year with a clear road map for debt relief for Greece. It is a precondition not only for the necessary economic and social boost, but also to limit the financial needs of the Greek Economy and therefore create fiscal space suitable for public and private investments.

We, the undersigned MEPs, strongly believe that Greece needs a stable macroeconomic environment. Therefore, Greece needs to leave behind the austerity measures once and for all, creating the conditions of exiting the programme, which should be the last one. Greece needs to focus on making the most out of the Structural Funds that have to be significantly increased especially for countries in crisis, and to surge the degree of security for the people, especially the most vulnerable ones.

In the context of the future negotiations between the EU Institutions and the Greek Government, we urge you to take these views into account, for the benefit of all societies and institutions.

We are looking forward to further discussing with you on this matter.

With Kind Regards,

The Members of the European Parliament,

Dimitrios Papadimoulis, GR (GUE/NGL)
Guillaume Balas, FR (S&D)
Sergio Cofferati, IT (S&D)
Fabio De Masi, DE, (GUE/NGL)
Eva Joly, FR (Greens/EFA)
Curzio Maltese, IT, (GUE/NGL)
Georgi Pirinski, ΒG (S&D)
Emmanuel Maurel, FR (S&D)
Ernest Urtasun, SP (Greens/EFA)
Jean-Paul Denanot, FR (S&D)
Virginie Rozière, FR (S&D)
Edouard Martin, FR (S&D)
Bart Staes, BE (Greens/EFA)
Tania Penas Gonzalez, SP (GUE/NGL)
Josep Maria Terricabras, SP (Greens/EFA)
Eric Andrieu, FR (S&D)
Christine Revault d’Allonnes Bonnefoy, FR (S&D)
Marisa Matias, PT (GUE/NGL)
Patrick Le Hyaric, FR (GUE/NGL)
Stelios Kouloglou, GR (GUE/NGL)
Eleonora Forenza, IT (GUE/NGL)
Monika Vana, AT (Greens/EFA)
Louis-Joseph Manscour, FR (S&D)
Isabelle Thomas, FR (S&D)
Barbara Spinelli, IT (GUE/NGL)
Kostas Chrysogonos, GR (GUE/NGL)
Younous Omarjee, FR (GUE/NGL)
Elly Schlein, IT (S&D)
Joachim Schuster, DE (S&D)
Michèle Rivasi, FR (Greens/EFA)
Konstadinka Kuneva, GR (GUE/NGL)
Ana Gomes, PT (S&D)
Martina Anderson, IE, (GUE/NGL)
Matt Carthy, IE (GUE/NGL)
Liadh Ni Riada, IE (GUE/NGL)
Lynn Boylan, IE (GUE/NGL)
Vincent Peillon, FR, (S&D)
Hugues Bayet, BE (S&D)

Brussels, 14 October 2016

Honourable members,

I would like to thank you for your letter; the engagement of the European Parliament and its members on this very important issue is greatly welcomed.

The European Commission has always been and remains in favour of collective efforts to ensure the sustainability of Greece’s debt. I am also personally engaged in supporting Greece and its people, who have suffered enormously as a result of the crisis and must find something to hope for again.

I have expressed and reiterated this commitment on multiple occasions to the European Parliament – in front of the ECON Committee, the Financial Assistance Working Group set up earlier this year, as well as in Plenary session debates, including during that which took place last week. I have also made the same points publicly, including this week following the Eurogroup.

I believe that all institutions engaged in the stability support programme for Greece share the same objectives: that the Greek economy must ingrain confidence and stability for the long-term, enabling the country to regain market access. And, like you, we believe that the implementation of debt measures is necessary to facilitate the process of achieving these objectives. The European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund have all been clear on this front. Their points of view are well known and largely convergent on the principles. While in parallel, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) has equally played its role by contributing with technical work.

Rest assured that the European Commission, for its part – and I on its behalf – will continue to play its role of loyal facilitator in ensuring that all parties respect their responsibilities vis-a-vis the political agreement reached by the Eurogroup in May 2016. First and foremost, Greece must continue to respect its commitment to reforms, in response to the financial support received from euro area Member States. To that end, I note with satisfaction that the first review of the ESM programme was completed earlier this week. In return, the Eurogroup agreed this past May to deliberate, this autumn, on the implementation of a series of debt measures for the short, medium and long-term. On this latter point, I would note that euro area Member States – the sole creditors under the stability support programmes – are the masters of the final decision. It is, therefore, also up to the Member States to take on their full responsibilities vis-a-vis the political agreement. And I would consequently expect that they too will fully engage in this process this autumn. The ball is in their court.

The Commission will continue to support this essential process, for Greece and for the euro zone as a whole. And you can count on me to carry this constructive message forward.


Pierre Moscovici