The head of Europe’s rescue fund told an audience of bankers in Athens that he is optimistic as Greece prepares to exit its third bailout programme in August at which point it can raise money for some much-needed public spending on bond markets to cover its borrowing needs.
Greece still has the highest debt-to-GDP ratio in the 19-nation euro zone at 179.8 percent and holds the unwanted record of being the recipient of the biggest sovereign rescue package in history.
A whopping £237.1 billion (€270 billion) of loans were provided by its eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund. T
The ESM holds more than half of the country’s public debt and, as the country’s biggest creditor, is keen to see it regain market access sustainably.
Mr Regling said told the audience in Athens: “Greece is on the brink of becoming the next successful example of this euro area approach, as long as it sticks to the reform policies during the remainder of the programme, and afterwards.
“But as Greece requires substantially more debt relief than any other country in the euro area, the post-programme surveillance will be tighter and more comprehensive.”
Mr Regling’s comments might come as a surprise to many Greek job seekers after the country’s jobless rate hit a record high of 27.9 percent in September 2013, and remains the highest in the Eurozone today.
Life is also yet to improve for Greece’s “lost generation” with those aged 15 to 24, still suffering a jobless rate of around 40 percent although this is down from a high of 44.4 percent.
Ireland and Portugal exited their sovereign bailout programmes in December 2013 and May 2014, respectively and the rescue fund chief says that Greece is starting to win back investor confidence.
Pierre Moscovici, the EU’s economic affairs commissioner, said: “We are now on the home straight for a successful conclusion of the Greek stability support programme.
“I am confident we will get there.”