Greek Prime Minister hails 'roadmap to debt relief' after Eurogroup meeting

GMT 04:56 2016 Wednesday ,11 May

Arab Today, arab today Greek Prime Minister hails 'roadmap to debt relief' after Eurogroup meeting

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
Athens - XINHUA

During a cabinet meeting here on Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hailed the "road map to debt relief" discussed at the Eurogroup meeting on Monday in Brussels.

The leftist leader spoke about a "significant day" with positive news for Greece after six years of negative news and harsh austerity, even though no concrete measures were agreed upon by eurozone finance ministers on Monday.

A press statement from the premier's office quoted him as saying: "Greece turns page, leaves behind six years of darkness and finally sees the light of growth."

For first time, Greece has been given a road map with specific gradual steps for debt reduction which will become more specific at the next Eurogroup meeting on May 24, Tsipras said.

He expressed optimism that through this path, the Greek economy would recover and social justice would be strengthened in the coming years.

European officials have also welcomed the progress made by Greece regarding the legislation of reforms which paves the way for the completion of the first review of the third Greek bailout in the coming weeks and the disbursement of the next tranche.

Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Monday after the meeting that developments would be discussed again in two weeks to achieve a final deal.

According to Greek government sources cited by the Greek news agency AMNA, the review of the Greek program will close without creditors asking for additional measures and a specific process to reach debt relief has been set.

According to the same sources, European counterparts also accepted Athens' proposal for the creation of a contingency mechanism which will be activated only if the government does not achieve the budget targets of the program in 2018.

Reflecting the skepticism of opposition parties, labor unions, and ordinary citizens, a Kathimeri daily newspaper editorial read "Cuts in salaries in exchange for debt in installments."

In contrast to the government's positive assessment of Monday's Eurogroup talks, main opposition party New Democracy argued "the government is celebrating the fourth memorandum with new, painful measures imposed on Greek people."

Critics of the looming deal, such as the conservative opposition, said the new pension cuts and tax hikes the parliament introduced on Sunday night would have a major impact on Greek society and expressed concern the ailing economy would not exit the recession.

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