Greece exits final bailout successfully: ESM

ATHENS: Greece has successfully exited its final, three-year bailout programme, 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.
“Today we can safely conclude the ESM programme with no more follow-up rescue programmes as, for the first time since early 2010, Greece can stand on its own feet,” Mario Centeno, the chairman of the ESM’s board of governors, said in a statement.
“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.
The ESM has disbursed 61.9 billion euros over three years in support of macroeconomic adjustment and bank recapitalisation.
A further 24.1 billion euros that was available to Athens under the programme was not needed, the fund said.
The crisis has proven deeply traumatic for Greeks who had enthusiastically swapped drachmas for euros in 2001.
Adoption of the single currency ushered in an era of cheap credit that funded a splurge in private consumption and public spending that sent Greece’s budget and current deficits ballooning.
Since the debt crisis exploded in early 2010, four successive governments have fought to keep bankruptcy at bay, relying on the biggest bailout in economic history, more than 260 billion euros lent by Greece’s euro zone partners and the IMF.
As Athens now eyes a return to normality and reclaiming its economic sovereignty, the scars remain — banks are saddled with huge bad loan portfolios and Greece’s public debt load is still the highest in the euro zone, at 180 per cent of national output. — Reuters