Eurozone countries have agreed a long-awaited debt relief deal for Greece, which has been hailed as “historic.”
And Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras did something he’s never done before, to make the announcement to the Greek people.
He wore a tie.
The debt relief deal gives Athens more time to repay €96.9bn worth of loans and extends a grace period during which Greece will pay little or no interest.
Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said it sent a signal that Greece was turning a new page.
EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the agreement meant “the Greek crisis ends here”.
The European Commission hailed the “new page” for Greece in a video it shared on its Facebook page.
The European Commission’s Video:
Under the deal, eurozone governments are also giving Greece a final cash loan of €15bn to help it keep paying its bills.
Greece’s current bailout program is due to end in August.
The country has had three bailout programs since 2010, when Greece lost the confidence of the financial markets as a result of its huge budget deficit and fell into a crippling period of crisis.
The ensuing financial crisis led to a debate over whether Greece would stay in the eurozone, as well as raising doubts over the future of the eurozone itself.
In return for the bailouts, Greece has had to enact a series of tough economic reforms. In the immediate aftermath of the crisis, the country’s economy shrank and unemployment surged.
Greece’s economy has since stabilized, but it still faces the problem of making payments on its accumulated debt pile, which stands at about 180% of GDP.
But speaking after the latest debt relief deal was agreed, Mr Tsakalotos said he thought it was “the end of the Greek crisis”.
“I think Greece is turning a page,” he said. “I think that it has all the building blocks there to leave the programme with confidence that we can access the markets, that we can implement our growth strategy and turn the agenda away from one of fiscal adjustment, which has been completed, to one of growth. “So I think it is a historic moment as people have said, a momentous moment.”
EU commissioner Pierre Moscovici said: “Tonight a new chapter begins” for Greece.
Tonight, eight long years of crisis come to an end for Greece and, symbolically, for the euro area as a whole. Tonight a new chapter begins.
— Pierre Moscovici (@pierremoscovici) June 21, 2018
“We finally got to the end of this path which was so long and difficult, it is a historic moment.”
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ historic tie-wearing announcement:
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