Greece says ECB emergency package makes 12 billion euro in debt eligible


Greece expects lower borrowing costs following its inclusion in an emergency assets purchases’ program launched by the European Central Bank (ECB), its finance minister said.

The ECB triggered new bond purchases worth 750 billion euros ($816.90 billion) at an emergency meeting late on Wednesday to stop a pandemic-induced financial rout from shredding the euro zone’s economy and renew concerns about the bloc’s viability.

The purchases will also include for the first time debt from Greece, which has been shut out of previous ECB buys because of its low credit rating.

Christos Staikouras, Greece’s finance minister, said the decision made about 12 billion euros in Greek government debt eligible for inclusion, which was expected to help in lowering borrowing costs.

“This is tangible support to our country and is a gesture of confidence in the government’s policies of handling this present health crisis,” he said in a written statement issued early on Thursday.

Greece came precariously close to toppling out of the euro zone in 2015 at the height of a debt crisis which required lenders throwing the country a financial lifeline on three occasions.

Its fiscal progress is being monitored by the euro zone and the IMF, which together lent Athens more than 250 billion euros ($272 billion) during its decade-long debt crisis.

The Greek economy will grow only slightly this year due to the impact of the coronavirus, by little over 0%, Staikouras told Greece’s ANT1 TV on Wednesday. The country had previously estimated economic growth of 2.8 percent this year.