Staikouras says Greece's full repayment of IMF debt is testament to New Democracy

IMF Greek public debt

Greek Finance Minister Christos Staikouras announced on Monday that Greece completed its repayment of its International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt.

"A chapter that opened in May 2010, with Greece's recourse to the Fund for financial support, is now over," the minister said in a statement.

Commenting on the event, Staikouras said the completion of the payment was "a very positive relationship, a result of the effective economic policy by the current government."

He also sent a positive message to markets for the state of Greece's fiscal situation.

It also boosts the profile of its public debt and adds a savings of 230 million euros in total to the state budget, to the benefit of Greek society, he underlined.

Paying off the IMF debt "began, continued, and was completed by the government of New Democracy," Staikouras noted.

At the same time, he said, the government continues, despite the great obstacles and external challenges, to move ahead "decisively and with confidence in its economic and social forces, to make Greece stronger all around, with an economy that is more productive, extroverted, and socially more fair."

Three successive bailouts totaling some 260 billion euros ($285 billion) between 2010 and 2018 prevented Greece from going bankrupt and exiting the shared euro currency.

But successive Greek governments were forced to implement painful budget cuts and tax hikes that led to a surge in unemployment and poverty.

Despite exiting the bailout program in 2018, Greece remains under an enhanced surveillance program created by European lenders to monitor spending, an arrangement due to end later this year.

The EU bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, last week also approved the early Greek repayment of 2.65 billion euros ($2.91 billion) in loans made before the ESM was formally established.

Meanwhile, Greece’s economy is expected to expand 3.5% this year due to higher energy prices and the Ukraine crisis, the International Monetary Fund said on Friday, lowering a previous 5.4% estimate made last summer.

“Growth is expected to remain robust despite the adverse impact of the war in Ukraine and high inflation,” the fund said in a statement after a staff visit to Greece.

READ MORE: Greece confident economy is still on course despite Ukraine crisis.