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article imageJuncker urges eurozone to honour Greek debt relief pledge

By AFP     Apr 26, 2018 in World

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday urged eurozone countries to honour their promises to provide debt relief to Greece, whose economy is still struggling.

"We should now focus on the problem of reducing (Greece's) debt. I want all member states to honour (their) pledges," Juncker said during a visit to Athens.

Bailout loans provided by the eurozone states and IMF prevented Greece from crashing out of the single currency. However they resulted in the country's debt remaining at an unsustainable 180 percent of its annual economic output.

As Greece approaches the end of its final bailout programme in August, markets will need to be convinced that it can handle its debt load. If investors refuse to lend to the country at affordable rates it will be forced to seek help once again.

German business daily Handelsblatt has reported that Berlin wants to set strict conditions for any further debt relief, even though Athens has repeatedly exceeded budget goals set by its lenders.

Juncker also insisted Thursday that Greece's bailout exit can be carried out without a precautionary credit line.

"There will be no precautionary line because we want to do everything to make Greece's exit from the programme as clear and clean as possible," he said.

Bank of Greece governor Yannis Stournaras has argued in favour of a credit line, noting that the country still has some distance to cover before regaining full access to bond markets -- especially in case of market turbulence.

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