By John Carr
A breath of economic relief blew through Athens on Friday, hours after Europe’s finance ministers approved measures for Greek debt relief that they said would finally end eight years of bailout payments.
In the early hours of Friday, the Eurogroup agreed to extend a grace period on Greek debt repayment by ten years.
It also green lighted a special 15 billion euro payment designed to tide Greece over until it can finally regain access to the global money markets in a couple of months’ time.
In Athens, the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hailed the deal as essentially signalling the end of Greece’s wrenching eight-year economic crisis. They said the creditors agreed that the Greek debt of 180 percent of GDP was finally sustainable, and hence no more onerous bailout deals were needed.
But the Greek crisis is by no means over, as pensions continue to be slashed, taxes are prohibitive, and unemployment hovers above 20 percent.
In fact, foreign supervision over the economy is going to be tighter than ever, at least for the next four years, and to a lesser extent over the next four decades.