European Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici spoke of Greece “turning a page after a long period of recession, which carried a heavy toll on Greek society” and expressed satisfaction that “the economy is beginning to recover”.

“Greece itself needs to set out and implement its own development strategy. This is one of the central issues that will preoccupy us in the coming months,” Moscovici underlined.

The observation were stated in an exclusive interview with the weekend edition of the daily Ta Nea.

Moscovici notes that “from the fiscal perspective, all the institutions involved in the programme expect Greece this year will exceed by far its primary surplus target”.

Moscovici feels our pain

He also acknowledged the “huge sacrifices that the Greeks have endured in order to restore stability in the country and to ensure its place in the eurozone and in the heart of Europe”.

“These efforts were recognised this year by the European Commission, which ended the excessive deficit procedure for Greece,” he said.

Moscovici stressed that Greece’s aim must be the timely legislation of all preconditions before the next Eurogroup, which is scheduled for 22 January, as that will permit the start of preparatory work for the next stages of the procedure, the discussion of the debt and the post-memorandum era, which should be completed by June.

The financial affairs commissioner said that Greek banks are adequately capitalized, but that their objective must be to reduce the volume of non-performing loans.

“The recovery that is now beginning will become entrenched and be rendered viable only if it is supported by the constant implementation of reforms, which may need to be supplemented, after the end of the programme,” the commissioner said.