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Greece will meet primary surplus targets until 2022 - Tsipras

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Greece will meet primary surplus targets until 2022 - Tsipras
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras looks on before delivering a speech during a debate on the Future of Europe at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, September 11, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler   -   Copyright  VINCENT KESSLER(Reuters)
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STRASBOURG (Reuters) – Greece will meet primary surplus targets of 3.5 percent of GDP until 2022 as required by its creditors, but the policies to achieve that will be determined by the Greek government, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told the European Parliament on Tuesday.

Greece exited the euro zone’s bailout programme, under which it received cheap loans in exchange for reforms, in August after eight years of economic restructuring that was necessary when Athens lost market access in 2010 because of its huge debts.

Euro zone creditors gave Greece a 15 billion euro (13.4 billion pounds) send-off to boost the country’s cash buffer and make it financially independent for two years before it needs to tap markets again.

In exchange Greece committed to keep a primary surplus, the budget balance before debt servicing costs, at 3.5 percent of GDP until 2022. Tsipras said Greece would meet these goals.

“The government of the day will choose the means and policies to achieve these targets,” he said, adding these policies would be discussed annually when Greece, like other euro zone countries, submits its draft budget to the European Commission for checks if it is in line with EU law.

“We will take decisions to foster growth for our economy and growth means no more austerity,” he said, noting however, the decisions would have to be “compatible with achieving our fiscal targets”.

(Reporting By Alastair Macdonald; writing by Jan Strupczewski)

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