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Greeks unimpressed by debt relief decision

Tuesday, December 06, 2016 - 01:46

Euro zone finance ministers may have agreed some debt relief for Greece but they were divided on reforms it must undertake to reach fiscal targets. And, as Sonia Legg reports, it's still not clear if the IMF will join the Greek bailout programme.

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They've been offered some debt relief by Brussels But it didn't bring much relief in Athens even though it could eventually reduce Greece's debt to GDP ratio by 20 percentage points. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) ATHENS RESIDENT, 58-YEAR-OLD VASSILIS VAROUTAS, AN ECONOMIST, SAYING: "I don't think it's a victory because of the long term nature of the debt relief, 2060 is ages away and there are many other preconditions too." Greece's lenders remain divided on what reforms Athens must undertake. And the IMF is still reluctant to join the bailout programme. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DARREN SINDEN, INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, SAYING: "The Germans want to see the IMF involved in this process because they believe it will give it credibility and rigour and without that there is a feeling that Greece will go back to their old tricks and let things slide." The ministers left open how long after 2018 they want Greece to maintain a primary fiscal surplus of 3.5 percent, a target considered crucial by the IMF. But they still insist a page has been turned. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN UNION ECONOMIC AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER PIERRE MOSCOVICI, SAYING: ''The statement makes clear the medium term fiscal trajectory will need to be in line with the EU fiscal framework, but the precise definition of the targets will need to be defined at a later stage." That prompted more complaints of cans being kicked down the road. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DARREN SINDEN, INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, SAYING: "The truth is none of the EU intervention we saw in 2010 or 2012 and more recently has got to the heart of the matter, all it has done is stop the bleeding, it hasn't helped the patient recover." Athens isn't in immediate need of a transfusion. But a timely deal would give it access to the ECB's bond-buying programme before it's overhauled in March. And possibly protect it from a potential crisis looming in Italy.

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Greeks unimpressed by debt relief decision

Tuesday, December 06, 2016 - 01:46