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ESM Chief Says Greece May Need Less Credit than Expected

The head of the eurozone’s European Stability Mechanism (ESM) bailout fund told a German newspaper that Greece was making good progress with its reform drive and it may not need as much credit as previously planned.
“We are pleased that the amount of the loan for Greece may remain significantly below the ESM programme’s limit of 86 billion euros,” ESM chief Klaus Regling told Handelsblatt in a story in the business newspaper’s edition on Monday. Unused funds could be used to repay loans to other creditors, he said.
The issue of debt relief is expected to be part of negotations over Greece‘s bailout exit in the coming months, but Regling said any debt relief was conditional on Greece fully implementing its reforms, and on all euro zone states agreeing.
“If the government in Athens continues to work as well, the review of this third programme can be concluded quickly,” he said.
Greece is gradually returning to growth after a deep recession and has exceeded targets of returning to a small primary budget surplus from 2016 onwards. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Die Welt and other European newspapers at the weekend that he expected the bailout to end on time, “that this adventure has an end in August 2018”.
A German Finance Ministry spokesman declined to comment on the report. The spokesman said Greece‘s lenders would provide an update on the country’s situation at a meeting on Dec. 4.
Source: Reuters

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