The country will honor the commitments it has made towards the institutions and achieve a stable and lasting access to the markets at favorable rates, based on the directives outlined at the Eurogroup meeting last June, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday, in the last day of a debate on the 2018 state budget.
Speaking to lawmakers, Tsipras said the only way for Greece to escape bailout programs is for borrowing costs to return to acceptable levels so that the country can refinance its needs without the restrictive framework of external support.
“Three years ago, you spoke of a success story with rates for the 10-year bond at 8 pct. Today, we are talking about the end of the crisis for the simple reason that the rates in the 10-year-bond have already fallen-eight months before the end of the third program- to 3.7 pct,” he said, addressing the main opposition.
The target set by the European institutions in order to exit from the bailout programs is for the 10-year bond rate to hover around similar levels as to those of 2009-that is, close to 4 or 4.5 percent, he continued. “Today, the 3.67 pct corresponds to the levels of borrowing Greece had in 2005-2006. When the crisis did not exist,” he added, noting that this shows the current situation is not comparable to the “fake success story” of 2014.
He reiterated that reforms are bearing fruit and that Greece’s image in the international stage is completely different from the one of 2014 and criticized the main opposition for comparing the country to Portugal and Cyprus, pointing out that none of them had to sign a second bailout program.
Defending the government’s decision to pay handouts to citizens affected more by the crisis, he said he viewed it as a way to provide equal opportunities to those who need them more and dismissed claims of early elections, saying: “There will also be a 2019 budget, because 2019 will be the election year.”