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Obama says Greece cannot take more austerity

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 01:40

U.S. President Barack Obama has said he will continue to stress to Greece's European partners that austerity alone could not help the country emerge from crisis and that debt relief was necessary along with reforms. Sonia Legg reports.

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It's his last foreign tour as president - and Greece is hoping Barack Obama will be remembered for helping them too. He certainly offered sympathy and help. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "Austerity alone cannot deliver prosperity and that it is going to be important both with respect to debt relief and other accommodative strategies to help the Greek people in this period of adjustment." But persuading the country's creditors to restructure some of Greece's debt won't be easy - especially for a President with a controversial successor. Greece is well aware its ongoing crisis will continue long after Donald Trump takes office. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ALEXIS TSIPRAS, SAYING: "We hope that the labours and sacrifices of the Greek people will bring results very soon and they'll be positive developments in the debt crisis negotiations, which concern all of Europe and the global economy." Greece signed up to a third 86 billion euro bailout last year. But says it can't recover from the worst economic downturn in generations without access to cheap ECB loans which debt relief would provide. (SOUNDBITE) (English) VICKY PRYCE, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER, CEBR, SAYING: "Greece has passed a number of quite tough laws - they have mainly effected the taxation side so the Greeks are paying a lot more tax than before. Whether there have been some serious reforms in other areas that's a different issue. It takes a lot of time to do those reforms and you need the type of stability in the economy to be able to do them." The cost of the migrant crisis hasn't helped either - Greece has now been in recession for seven years.

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Obama says Greece cannot take more austerity

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 01:40