When Greece officially concludes its European Stability Mechanism (ESM) stability support programme on August 20, the country will safeguard its place at the heart of the euro area and the European Union.

“This major achievement is the result of the sacrifices of the Greek people, Greece’s commitment to reforms, and the solidarity of its European partners,” noted the European Commission in a press release.

The Commission announced its decision to activate the enhanced surveillance framework for Greece on July 11. By doing this, Greece is back on the path of normalisation, building on the progress that has been made.

According to Brussels, it will support the completion, delivery and continued implementation of reforms agreed under the programme, in line with the commitments made by the Greek authorities.

“The 20th of August will mark a new beginning for Greece,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. “It is important for the country to continue with prudent fiscal and macroeconomic policies, as well as to complete the agreed reforms. Enhanced surveillance is there to help Greece build confidence with markets, investors and companies: they all want stability and predictability. This is the way to attract more investment and ensure sustainable growth, which will bring new jobs and lead to better living and social conditions for the Greek people.”

In turn, Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, stressed that Greece is now “able to stand on its own two feet”.

“That does not mean that it must stand alone,” he added. “Europe will remain engaged and committed to supporting the country, and so will the European Commission. Today’s decision is about just that. Enhanced surveillance is not a fourth programme: it involves no new commitments or conditions. It is a framework to support the completion and delivery of ongoing reforms. Why is that so important? Because Greece’s recovery is not an event: it is a process.”

The decision follows the agreement reached at the Eurogroup on 22 June. According to the Commission, enhanced surveillance is a robust post-programme surveillance framework that will allow for a close monitoring of the economic, fiscal and financial situation and its evolution in Greece.

Its activation was considered appropriate due to the protracted nature of the crisis Greece has faced, the country’s debt position, the need for continued structural reform implementation to engender a sustainable economic recovery, and remaining vulnerabilities.