Greece seeing ‘light at end of austerity’: EU commissioner
PARIS - Agence France-PresseGreece is seeing “the light at the end of austerity”, the EU’s economy commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on July 24, calling the reforms imposed on Athens by its creditors perhaps “too tough” but “necessary.”
“Greece was caught up in an incredible economic and financial storm,” Moscovici told France Inter radio ahead of a visit to Athens for talks with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on debt relief.
“Today, things are much, much better,” he said, noting that the economy was starting to grow again, unemployment had dipped and the country’s credit rating had improved.
“We had to create the conditions for (investor) confidence, which was done. Was it too tough? Probably. Was it also necessary? Likewise,” Moscovici said.
Greece is on the rebound from a severe crisis that took the debt-ridden country to the brink of collapse in 2010.
It had to be repeatedly bailed out by its eurozone partners to prevent it bringing down the single currency bloc.
In a sign that the country is turning a corner the economy is projected to grow by 2.1 percent this year -- after no growth at all in 2016.
Unemployment has fallen 1.9 points in a year but was still stuck at a towering 21.7 percent in April.
The International Monetary Fund last week approved a one-year, $1.8 billion loan program for the country, which is reportedly planning a test re-entry to the bond market.
The fund said however it would not release any funds until the eurozone agreed on a deal to cut Greece’s colossal 314-billion-euro debt burden.
Moscovici said the “140 extremely courageous reforms” undertaken by Athens meant there was now hope of “finally finding a solution to the debt problem.”