ESM Managing Director Regling: Greece's public debt is high but viable

debt European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Managing Director Klaus Regling

Greece's public debt may be the highest in the European Union by far, but remains viable even after the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Managing Director Klaus Regling said at the Delphi Economic Forum in Athens on Thursday.

Speaking at the panel on "Addressing the Public Debt Issue Post-Pandemic", Regling said that three reasons have helped its viability.

  • Greece's very good fiscal state in 2019, before the crisis erupted;
  • the structure of the Greek debt following its restructuring, particularly the fact that 55% relates to low-interest and long-term loans ESM has provided; and
  • the European Central Bank's monetary policy and the emergency measures it applied during the crisis, which helped de-escalate Greek bond interest rates.

The challenges Greece will meet after the crisis are manageable, he said, but the country must return to primary surpluses.

Also addressing the panel were Dimitris Tsakonas, General Director of the Public Debt Management Agency at the Ministry of Finance, MP and former Minister of Labor, Social Security & Social Solidarity (2016-2019) Effie Achtsioglou, and Eurobank Chairman and professor George Zanias.

The panel was moderated by Athens-Macedonian News Agency Chairman and Board Director Aimilios Perdikaris.

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