Greece can exit its EU/IMF bailout earlier than expected and can cover its own funding needs next year, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in Berlin on Tuesday after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Greece has returned to the debt markets successfully twice this year and speculation has grown that the country could seek an early exit from its 240-billion-euro EU/IMF bailout and sending Greek yields to a one-month high on Tuesday.
Asked about reports of a “divorce” from the IMF after funding from the EU ends this year, Samaras told reporters: “I don’t accept the term ‘divorce’, even if it’s a velvet one.”
“We have a cooperation that was never easy, quite the contrary, but that has certainly changed the face of our economy,” he said. “I believe this cooperation will be completed ahead of schedule. If that happens, it would be a success, not a divorce.”
Samaras also said Greece expects talks on further debt relief to begin after the next review by EU/IMF lenders and European bank stress tests and that the country would receive an extension of loan maturities and lower interest rates.
“I believe that we can certainly cover our funding needs from next year,” Samaras said. We will see what happens with the next bailout tranches.” [Reuters]