Monday, 17 May 2010

Eurozone transparency: Greek rescue package

It may feel like ancient history, but the EU decisions on the Greek rescue package are only a week old. What do we find, if we want to know more about our collective liabilities?

We look at the latest concrete instance.



In ECOFIN’s euro rescue (15 May 2010), we mentioned that the ECOFIN Council decided on the support package for Greece, the establishment of a European stabilisation mechanism and a commitment to accelerate fiscal consolidation “where warranted”.

We noted that the ministers welcomed the “ambitious and realistic” consolidation and reform programme of Greece, and promised the first disbursement of aid by the eurozone members by 19 May 2010.



How much more do we find in the conclusions of the extraordinary meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN), representing the 27 EU member states, from 9 to 10 May 2010 (document 9596/10)?

On page 6:

First, following the successful conclusion of procedures in euro area Member States and the meeting of euro area Heads of State or Government, the way has been cleared for the implementation of the support package for Greece. The Commission has signed today, on behalf of the euro area Member States, the loan agreement with Greece and the first disbursement will proceed, as planned, before 19 May. The Council strongly supports the ambitious and realistic consolidation and reform programme of the Greek government.



This is it.

From the viewpoint of clarity and transparency, we can make the following four observations:

1. There are no document references or links to the procedures concluded in the euro area member states.
2. There are no document references or links to the support package for Greece.
3. There are no document references or links to the loan agreement signed by the Commission with Greece.
4. There are no document references or links to the consolidation and reform programme of the Greek government.


For a programme of €80 billion from the eurozone countries (and €30 billion from the International Monetary Fund), the documentation readily made available to the media and the public can hardly be called excessive or particularly helpful.


In most euro area countries the purchase of a municipal bicycle stand would probably be more precisely presented and documented, every step of the way.



Decisions are taken in the name of about 330 million people in the eurozone or 500 million in the EU, but is the population more than a nuisance?




Ralf Grahn