A two-pronged message

COMMENT

In his public statements on Tuesday in Athens, visiting US President Barack Obama sent a two-pronged message. It is important that one does not interpret it selectively.

The American leader, who will fly to Berlin on Wednesday, was very clear on the question of Greece’s debt relief, saying that “it is very difficult to imagine the kind of growth strategy that’s needed without some debt relief mechanism.”

The outgoing president will be a strong ally in Greece’s efforts to restructure its debt – until he bows out – which stands at nearly 180 percent of national output.

At the same time, however, Obama did not fail to point out that the debt-battered country must implement key reforms. In order to return to robust growth, President Obama said, Greece must become more open to foreign investors.

The Greek government cannot afford to ignore this second part of the US leader’s message. Because unless this country pushes through some serious reforms, it will will very soon find itself caught up in the vicious cycle of deficits and debt accumulation.

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