Greece on Saturday ended 12 years of European Union fiscal surveillance imposed in exchange for bailouts after a crippling debt crisis.
In November 2009, Athens revealed a sharp increase in its public deficit which eventually led to a financial crisis in the Eurozone and negatively impacted Greek finances for a decade.
In exchange for a 289 billion euro rescue package and to prevent Greece from leaving the euro zone, a “troika”, made up of the International Monetary Fund, the EU and the European Central Bank, demanded general reforms of Athens.
These included major cuts in state spending and wages, tax hikes, privatizations and other sweeping reforms aimed at restoring public finances.
The economy shrank by more than a quarter, unemployment soared to almost 28% and skilled professionals emigrated in droves.
“A 12-year cycle that has hurt citizens, led to economic stagnation and divided society,” has come to an end, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.
“A new horizon filled with growth, unity and prosperity is emerging for all,” he said. “Greece today is another Greece.
“We have seen strong growth and a significant drop in unemployment of 3% since last year and 5% since 2019,” he added.
The end of surveillance will strengthen Greece’s position in the international market by increasing its attractiveness to investors. Athens will also now have greater control over its domestic economic policy.
Nevertheless, Greece – like other bailed-out EU members Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Ireland – will still be watched by its creditors while paying off its debts.
In the case of Greece, it will take another two generations, with the last loans to be repaid in 2070.
According to European Commission projections, the Greek economy will grow by 4% this year, well above the eurozone average of 2.6%.
However, Greece’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the monetary union, its minimum wage one of the lowest and the country’s debt stands at 180% of gross domestic product.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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