Greece ‘turning a page’ as eurozone declares crisis over


After eight years and three bailout programs, Greece wants to regain its financial sovereignty in August on the back of a rebounding economy and easier repayment terms on some bailout loans extended by the euro area.

"After eight long years, Greece will finally be graduating from its financial assistance", the chairman of euro zone finance ministers Mario Centeno told a news conference in the small hours of Friday after hours of negotiations of the deal.

This latest agreement was reached after a series of mainly bilateral meetings with key players such as France and Germany, but although the deal does breathe new life into Greece, at least until 2032, it also comes with continued strict fiscal targets and post-bailout scrutiny of its implementation.

Greece expects euro zone finance ministers to deliver on promised debt relief this week so that it can at last plan its financial future "like any ordinary country", the government spokesman said on Wednesday. The left-wing politician had said at the beginning of his first term in office that he would only wear a tie when Greece had settled its debt problems, and in his speech, Tsipras hailed Friday's deal in Luxembourg as a landmark decision. A deal to ease Greek debt has always been seen as a key ingredient in the country's successful return to economic health and foray back into financial markets.

They also agreed to disburse 15 billion euros ($17.5 billion) to ease Greece's exit from the rescue programme.

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The eurozone ministers' agreement comes almost a decade after Athens stunned the world with out-of-control spending, sparking three bailouts and a near collapse of the euro single currency.

"Now we should all, we and our partners, acknowledge that what was achieved was thanks to the sacrifices of Greek people", Pavlopoulos said on his part.

"The agreed debt relief is bigger than we had expected", Citi European Economics said in a note. For the last four years, the money has stayed in Germany.

A dedicated section in the long list of commitments that Greece will be asked to undertake for after its bailout includes sales and leases of state assets, from the Athens International Airport and the country's gas-grid operator Desfa by the end of this year, to Hellenic Petroleum by mid-2019, and Egnatia Motorway and the regional ports of Alexandroupoli and Kavala by end-2019.

The International Monetary Fund, led by the tough-talking Christine Lagarde, welcomed the debt relief, but cited reservations about 's obligations over the long term.