BRUSSELS (MNI) – Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras sought to
end any speculation about the troubled country’s possible exit from the
Eurozone, saying that the decision taken by the Eurogroup on Thursday to
pay a long-overdue loan installment to Greece will give it much
As a result of the Eurozone finance ministers’ decision to release
the aid money, Greece will receive E52.5 billion over the next three
“The funds, coming in conjunction with the necessary structural
reforms, create space for optimism about the future,” Samaras said at a
press conference here ahead of the EU leaders’ summit.
“More than E40 billion out of the total amount will remain in
Greece and the rest will contribute to a E20 billion reduction in the
public debt,” Samaras added, referring to the bond buy-back conducted by
the Greek debt agency earlier this week.
Greece’s European partners, through the European Financial
Stability Facility, is loaning Greece E11.3 billion to buy back
privately held government bonds with a total nominal value of about E32
billion at steeply discounted prices equal, on average, to about
one-third the face amount.
The Eurogroup had originally approved only E10 billion for that
purpose, but because Athens was obliged to pay a slightly
higher-than-expected price to buy the bonds back, it required a bump in
the amount provided by the EFSF.
With Thursday’s deal, Greece can no longer be “blackmailed,” and
“the black cloud hanging over Greece is dissolving,” Samaras declared.
“Some thought that we were not negotiating. They still refuse to
believe that the interest rates on our loans have been reduced and
profits [on Greek sovereign bonds] returned by the ECB,” Samaras said.
“We got the best deal any troubled country could possibly get from the
EU. The amount is unprecedented.”
The Greek premier said he was committed to returning to the Greek
people what the state owes them, thus paving the way for unblocking tax
rebates and making good on government arrears to hospitals, pharmacies
and other businesses.
–Brussels newsroom, firstname.lastname@example.org