Council agreement in a new programme for Greece with voluntary contribution of the private sector

The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to ensure the financial stability of the euro area. Among the measures, they will support a new programme for Greece, together with the IMF and the voluntary contribution of the private sector. With the new measures, the Council intends to stop the risk of contagion, improving the Greek debt sustainability as well as improving the Eurozone's crisis management.

According to Herman Van Rompuy, President of the EU Council, Ministers tackled the problem by addressing two main factors, investors' fears that losses will be imposed on a non-voluntary basis on bondholders in Greece and then maybe in other countries as well, and market uncertainty over the Eurozone's ability to resolve the crisis.

First of all, Ministers welcomed the measures undertaken by the Greek government to stabilize public finances and reform the economy as well as the new package of measures including privatisation recently adopted by the Greek Parliament. These efforts to bring the Greek economy back on a sustainable growth path are really needed, therefore the Ministers thanked the efforts that the adjustment measures entail for the Greek citizens.

The new programme agreed by the Council will be designed, notably through lower interest rates and extended maturities, to decisively improve the debt sustainability and refinancing profile of Greece. The Ministers call on the IMF to continue to contribute to the financing of the new Greek programme and they intend to use the EFSF as the financing vehicle for the next disbursement. The total official financing will amount to an estimated 109 billion euro.

The second important measure taken by the Council is clearly addressed to stop contagion. Therefore, it agrees to include the participation of the private sector in a voluntary bases and the EFSF (Financial Stability Facility) will get more flexibility to intervene: precautionary assistance, recapitalisation of banks through governments, including in non programme countries; and secondary market interventions in exceptional circumstances on the basis of an analysis by the ECB. According to Mr Van Rompuy, the Council created a solid fire-wall and better fire-brigade equipment.

In addition, they decided to improve the Eurozone’s governance. The Ministers agreed that reliance of European rules on external credit rating agencies should be reduced. EU Polish Presidency already called for a transparent European rating agency. Furthermore, EU will make concrete proposals on how to better organize crisis management in the euro area and to improve working methods. The proposals will be presented in October.