ESM chief economist Strauch: Greece returning to positive growth

The Greek people made a major effort to successfully exit their bailout programs, and the reforms are bearing fruit, European Stability Mechanism (ESM) chief economist Rolf Strauch said in a brief address on “Global Financial Stability: Insights from Europe” at the annual IMF-World Bank meeting in Bali, Indonesia, on Friday.

“The ESM supported five countries – Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus and Greece,” Strauch said. “All countries have successfully exited their programmes. Greece was the last to do so. This constituted an enormous effort in terms of European solidarity – the ESM and EFSF provided almost 204 billion euros in support over the course of crisis years. But it was also a major effort by the Greek people.”

The economist added, “There is still much to be done. But we can see that the reforms are already bearing fruit. The country is returning to positive growth and there is a primary surplus in the budget. Now it is important that Greece continues the reforms, to sustain investor trust, secure market access and fully stand on its own feet again.”

He concluded his remarks by saying that “Europe has made a robust effort to recover from the crisis. We have made progress that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago,” but added that Europe needed to be prepared for any future financial crisis by “completing the Banking Union and strengthening the mandate of the ESM.”