The financial impact of the migration and refugee problem is huge, particularly for the Member States under great pressure because of their geographical location.
Greece, as a gateway country, is under extraordinary pressure and this weighs disproportionately on its budget. The cost relates to the expenses incurred for the reception of refugees and the Greek contribution to cover the EUR 2.5 bn. to be paid to Turkey.
Exceptional costs arising because of the immigrant and refugee problem would normally be addressed in the corrective arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), so that the impact of the expenditure is neutral from a budgetary point of view. Greece, however, which is undergoing a special fiscal adjustment programme, will be excluded from whatever facilities are provided for by the SGP.
Bearing in mind Greece’s financial commitments to its creditors and the fact that it is struggling to cope with the impact of the refugee and migration issues on the deficit which encumbers its macroeconomic position and Greece’s solvency in the markets, will the Commission say:
- Will the countries undergoing a fiscal adjustment programme also benefit from a provision to take account of exceptional costs so that these costs are neutral from a budgetary point of view?
- Alternatively, how should the extraordinary impact on the deficit be addressed?
Answer given by Mr Moscovici on behalf of the Commission
The fiscal situation of Greece is monitored through its stability support programme and the annual budgetary targets in its programme are integrated into the Excessive Deficit Procedure recommendations(1). As agreed in the context of the first review, the direct refugee-related costs incurred by the Greek authorities up to 0.2% of GDP per year net of EU transfers will be excluded from the primary fiscal balance when assessing its compliance with the fiscal targets under the Economic Adjustment Programme(2).
(1) Article 10(2) of Regulation Nr 472/2013.
(2) See the Technical Memorandum of Understanding: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/assistance_eu_ms/greek_loan_facility/pdf/technical_memorandum_of_understanding_en.pdf