EU Commission – Greek primary surplus well above target in 2016

The Europa building, a new €321m summit venue in Brussels, decorated with multicoloured ceilings and carpets intended to symbolise the “united patchwork” of Europe. / Wikimedia Commons

Reuters — Greece’s primary surplus was 4.2 percent of GDP last year, significantly above the target set for Athens under its bailout program, the European Commission said on Monday.

“The mission is returning to Athens today with the objective of concluding a sub-level agreement as soon as possible on the basis of the understanding of Greeks of the Eurogroup in Valletta,” European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a news conference, adding that talks were expected to take several days.

Schinas said the 4.2 percent primary surplus – a measure that excludes interest payments – was well above the program target of 0.5 percent for 2016 and even above the level of 2.5 percent set for 2018.

“This confirms the trend which we at the Commission have been reporting for a while,” he said.

Spain and France have exceeded the 3% deficit limit set by the Growth and Stability Pact.

The UK is just within the 3% deficit limit

Greece is one of 10 EU  countries to record a surplus