Greece finally exits bailouts after years of stinging austerity

Cornelia Mascio
Agosto 20, 2018

Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, tweeted: "You did it!"

Greece has successfully exited its final, three-year bailout program, agreed in August 2015 to help it cope with the continued fallout from a debt crisis, the euro zone's ESM rescue fund said on Monday. Congratulations to Greece and its people on ending the programme of financial assistance.

"We have had eight very hard years, often very painful years, where we have had three successive programmes".

Evoking pensioners, workers and families who had suffered their own personal crisis, he added that he was "conscious that all those people may not feel that their situation has yet improved much if at all".

"It took much longer than expected but I believe we are there: Greece's economy is growing again, there is a budget and trade surplus, and unemployment is falling steadily".

Nearly a fifth of Greece's working-age population is out of work. Meanwhile, youth unemployment remains at 43.6% - the worst in the EU.

According to forecasts, unemployment is expected to fall to 14 percent by 2023, which is still nearly double the current Eurozone average of 8.3 percent.

The Greek economy has grown slowly in recent years and is still 25% smaller than when the crisis began.

Greece has the highest government debt in the European Union, 177% of gross domestic product, and is forecast to be repaying loans until 2060.

The country's former creditors remain divided about the way forward.

The IMF have voiced disagreement with the EU's demand and has argued the arrangement will only end in high taxation and low social spending.

The body urged Greece to stay in line with its spending plans while reducing high tax rates and broadening the income tax base.

"This was possible thanks to the extraordinary effort of the Greek people, the good cooperation with the current Greek government and the support of European partners through loans and debt relief", he said.

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