BRUSSELS, April 23 Greece had a primary surplus
of 0.8 percent of GDP last year, the European Commission said on
Wednesday, a result that paves the way for some form of debt
relief from euro zone governments that are now the main
creditors of Athens.
Greek public debt rose to 175.1 percent of gross domestic
product last year, the European Union's statistics office said,
up from 157.2 percent in 2012.
To help bring it down, euro zone euro zone finance ministers
agreed in November 2012 that they would "consider further
measures and assistance, including inter alia lower co-financing
in structural funds and/or further interest rate reduction of
the Greek Loan Facility, if necessary, for achieving a further
credible and sustainable reduction of Greek debt-to-GDP ratio."
The condition was that Greece had to reach an annual primary
surplus -- now met -- and fully implement reforms agreed on with
The debt relief for Athens is to ensure that by the end of
the International Monetary Fund lending programme to Greece in
2016, the country can reach a debt-to-GDP ratio in that year of
175 percent, falling to 124 percent in 2020 and substantially
lower than 110 percent in 2022.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski)