Minsters participating at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) council approved a reform of the stability pact whereby new rules are “realistic, balanced and adapted to present and future challenges”, the Spanish rotating presidency of the Union announced on the X platform in the late afternoon.
— Presidencia española del Consejo de la UE (@eu2023es) December 20, 2023
The Greek side, both officially and through sources, said the agreement satisfies the Mitsotakis government’s main priorities, such as a less rigid calculation of defense spending in annual budgets and resulting figures on budget deficits, as well as a special allowance regarding interest paid on the country’s public debt until 2033.
Other points cited by Athens were protection of investments and a gradual reduction of the public debt in a manner that doesn’t subvert economic growth and social cohesion.
In a statement issued immediately after the ECOFIN meeting, Greek Economy and Finance Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, noted that “…a lengthy European negotiation was successfully concluded today for Greece…A long-standing request by successive Greek governments to exclude defense-related outlays from calculating excessive deficit was accepted for the first time. Additionally, explicit reference is made, in a positive manner, to the issue that will arise in 2033 in relation to interest rate calculation …of the Greek public debt, thereby alleviating a headache from country, in terms of the EU’s fiscal rules.”
Hatzidakis stressed that Athens’ goal at this week’s negotiations in Brussels was to ensure maximum possible combination of fiscal policies with economic growth for member-states.