Greece could get more EU aid to cut debt, says PM

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said Sunday he did not rule out Greece receiving more European aid, and hoped it could return to the bond markets in 2014 to plug a gap in the national finances.

Samaras told Greek daily Ethnos that the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had pledged in 2012 to provide additional assistance if it was needed, as long as Greece stuck to its commitments.

These include recording a budget surplus, which Samaras has said Greece is on course to achieve in 2013.

“Last November’s agreement with our creditors states that… if Greece needs to fill a financial gap in the coming years, then on condition that it abides by its commitments, there will be a sort of supplementary aid,” he said.

Greece has received massive rescue funding, tied to tough conditions, from the EU and the IMF to help it overcome a debt crisis which threatened the eurozone.

Athens has not issued long-term debt since 2010 and currently only places treasury bills of up to six months to help it stay afloat between payments from its bailout.

Asked whether Greece would be able to access the long-term bond markets in 2014, the conservative prime minister replied, “of course.”

In a speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair Saturday, the Greek prime minister said the budget surplus had reached 1.1-billion euros ($1.45-billion) in the first seven months of 2013, amid signs that the extremely deep recession is easing.

However, Greek national debt currently stands at 321-billion euros, and is expected to reach 176 percent of Gross Domestic Product by the end of 2013. [AFP]

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