BUSINESS

ESM chief urges Greek government to take ownership of adjustment program

TAGS: Economy, Conference

Delays in completing the review of the Greek program have taken a toll on the country’s economy, the Managing Director of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), Klaus Regling, said Wednesday, while urging the left-led government to take full ownership of the bailout program.

“The first review of the Greek program took too long. This is a drag on the economy,” Regling told an Economist conference in Athens on Wednesday, adding that “Greece needs stronger ownership of the adjustment programs.”

Speaking at the “20th Roundtable with the Government of Greece,” the head of the eurozone bailout fund hailed this week’s 7.5-billion-euro disbursement as a recognition that Greece is making progress in reforming its economy.

The ESM chief said Greek efforts to remain in the common currency zone were supported by the debt-hit nation’s European partners.

“Europe will not abandon Greece, it is part of the European family,” he said.

In comments made Tuesday, Regling said the ESM would continue to provide loans to Athens under favorable conditions and noted that interest rates charged on Greek loans are less than 1.0 percent with the average maturity of the loans at 32 years.

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