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The meeting of the European Union Affairs Committee concentrated on issues surrounding the financial aid programme for Greece.

According to the Chairman of the Committee Kalle Palling, Estonia continues to argue that Greece must honour the agreements. “Greece has announced that it will fulfil its loan obligations and will also carry out domestic reforms to improve the economic situation and solvency of the country. In practice, this means a decision to extend the programme. This is why the Committee supported changing the schedule of the programme,” Palling said. He explained that under the current rules, the decision must be made by the European Union Affairs Committee. This is based on the Resolution of the Riigikogu On Ensuring Performance of Obligations arising from the European Financial Stability Facility Framework Agreement and Amendments thereto. This Resolution is the foundation of the activities of the government.

The Greek government presented a programme to Eurogroup, proposing an extension of four months to the existing action plan. Eurogroup insists that Greece should recognise the validity of the existing programme and that payments should be made only after a successful inspection. Greece must cooperate with the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. Greece must fulfil its loan obligations to all the creditors. Greece must respect its promise to carry out reforms instead of reversing these or taking unilateral steps to change the content of the programme.

The application of the Greek government lists the planned reforms in taxation and collection of taxes, public finances, administration and social security, as well as for improving the situation of the labour market and the business environment.

During the Eurogroup telephone conference at the start of this week, institutions viewed the submitted list as a sufficient basis for starting consultations that could potentially lead to a review of the programme. The Eurozone countries agreed with this assessment. The content of the reforms must yet be specified and their impacts must be determined, also in the field of budgeting. However, the review should be based on valid programme documents, including the memorandum of understanding. The recommended time for the review is April.

In case the memorandum of understanding is changed, i.e. a new memorandum is presented, for example, the new Riigikogu will proceed it at a plenary sitting.

Minister of Finance Maris Lauri gave explanations at the meeting of the Committee.

The EU Affairs Committee also reviewed Estonia’s positions at the sitting of the EU Competitiveness Council on 2–3 March, as well as at the sitting of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council on 5 March, and the sitting of the EU Environment Council on 6 March.

The Riigikogu Press Service