Greece’s central bank governor said on Thursday there were growing signs the country’s deep recession was bottoming out although a mild recovery expected in the second half of the year could still be at risk.
“The Greek economy has already come a long way, and it is only a short distance from here to an exit from the crisis,” Bank of Greece chief Yannis Stournaras, an ECB Governing Council member, told the annual meeting of the central bank in Athens.
Stournaras said the recovery depended on successful completion of the first batch reforms laid out as part of a 86 billion euro bail out package that Greece signed with lenders in August. One of the first conditions was that Greece must reform its inflated pensions system.
But efforts to do so have sparked protests from farmers who have sporadically blocked main highways to protest higher contributions.
“We must remain committed to honouring the terms of the (bail out) agreement, which must not be seen as imposed upon us by our creditors, but as fundamental and necessary reforms that should have been implemented years ago,” he said.
“The successful completion of the first review will prove to be decisive, in that it will open the way for discussions with our partners on further relief measures,” Stournaras said.
The refugee crisis, an ‘overreaction’ by markets to a possible slowdown of global economic growth and the possibility of a British exit from the EU were other risks to Greek growth, Stournaras said.
Source: Reuters (By George Georgiopoulos, Writing by Michele Kambas; editing by Katharine Houreld)