Greece got a reprieve Tuesday after months of tensions due to the commitment of its creditors EU and IMF to release the promised loans and acting to reduce its debt.
The Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, welcomed the decision of the eurozone, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB), after an emergency meeting in Brussels, saying that “a new beginning stage for all Greeks. “
Greece expected for several weeks the EU-IMF debt, after being forced to accept a new set of economic austerity measures as a precondition for receiving loan installments that had been delayed for months.
“I decided by the Eurogroup is a new starting point that the country needs after nine months of waiting. (…) It is a good thing because of the sacrifices of the Greek people,” said Evangelos Venizelos, PASOK socialist leader and principal coalition ally who heads the conservative Samaras. Fotis Kuvelis, third associate executive leader Dimar (democratic left), welcomed “a decisive step to keep the country in the eurozone”.
The EU agreed a loan of 43,700 million euros, of which a first part, about 34,000 million, is expected to be delivered on December 13. The rest will be delivered in three installments during the first quarter of 2013.
On the sensitive issue of debt reduction, point of disagreement between the IMF and the euro zone, the parties finally agreed after more than 13 hours of meetings to reduce debt to 124% of GDP by 2020, against an initial target of 120% demanded by the IMF.
According to a European source, this means a relief of 40,000 million euros by 2020. Without further measures, the debt would have reached 144% of GDP in 2020, a level deemed unbearable by the IMF.
Most Greek media also congratulated achieved this goal, while noting that the country had to accept compensation increased “surveillance” of its creditors to implement reforms that promised to make. “Finally, (we) the decision on payment and debt,” headlined on its cover the liberal Kathimerini daily highlighting “the strict conditions of the monitoring mechanism of the country.”
For Ta Nea (center left), “the Greeks, who have adopted harsh measures, are entitled to a first smile, even when the Eurogroup decision is not a solution to the whole problem of the Greek debt”.
The editors daily (left) was more suspicious: “the demands of creditors Greek society condemn to a slow death while the debt solution is again based accounting alchemy and postponed to the future”, estimated.
Forced to strict austerity after recourse to the mechanism of EU-IMF aid when the crisis began in 2010 debt, Greece is mired in a deep recession for the fifth consecutive year, while unemployment affects a quarter of the population active.