Greece's exit from enhanced EU scrutiny ends 12 years of pain, prime minister says

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis attends a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain June 30, 2022. REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photo

ATHENS, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Greece's exit on Saturday from the European Union's so-called enhanced surveillance framework for its economy ends 12 years of pain and allows the country greater freedom in policy making, its prime minister said.

Greece's economic performance and policies have been closely monitored under the framework since 2018 to ensure it implemented reforms promised under three international bailouts - totalling more than 260 billion euros ($261 billion) - from the European Union and the IMF between 2010 and 2015.

EU officials had confirmed Saturday's exit earlier this month, saying Athens had delivered on the bulk of its commitments. read more

"A 12-year cycle that brought pain to citizens now closes," Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a statement. "Exiting the enhanced surveillance framework means greater national leeway in our economic choices".

Greece was hit with waves of pension cuts, spending constraint, tax increases and bank controls after it was forced to seek its first bailout in 2010. The economy shrank 25% during the bailouts.

Since exiting them in 2018, the country has relied solely on the markets for its financing needs.

The surveillance framework was intended to ensure the continued adoption of measures to tackle potential sources of economic difficulty and structural reforms to support sustainable economic growth.

Greece's emergence from the enhanced surveillance will also bring closer the country's goal of regaining an "investment grade" credit rating, Mitsotakis said.

($1 = 0.9966 euros)

Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas Editing by George Georgiopoulos and Mark Potter

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