International Monetary Fund
Press Release No.13/120
April 15, 2013
Staff teams from the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have concluded their review mission to Greece. The mission has reached staff-level agreement with the authorities on the economic and financial policies needed to ensure the program remains on track to achieve its objectives.
The mission and the authorities agreed that the economic outlook is largely unchanged from the previous review, with continued prospects for a gradual return to growth in 2014, supported by inflation well below the euro area average and improved wage flexibility, which are helping to restore the competitiveness of the Greek economy.
Fiscal performance is on track to meet the program targets, and the government is committed to fully implement all agreed fiscal measures for 2013-14 that are not yet in place, including adoption of legislation to extend collection of the real estate tax through 2013 via the Public Power Company. It remains important to respond promptly to any slippages that may emerge. The authorities have made important progress on measures to improve tax and debt collection, through reforms of the revenue administration to provide it with significantly more autonomy, powers and resources, and adoption of more effective and enforceable installment schemes. This was a major focus of the mission, given the importance of improving tax collection and reducing the scope for evasion and corruption in order to ensure a more balanced and fair distribution of adjustment and to support the achievement of fiscal targets and minimize the need for further adjustment measures.
Actions to fully recapitalize the banking sector as envisioned under the program are nearing completion, and the authorities have undertaken to develop a comprehensive strategy for the banking sector following recapitalization. Most of the €50 billion available under the program for recapitalization has already been disbursed to Greece and injected into each of the four core banks by the HFSF as advances to cover their capital needs. The mission’s assessment is that this will provide adequate capital, even under a significantly adverse scenario. These capital buffers will thus ensure the safety and soundness of the banking system and of its deposits.