Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (R) speaks with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during their meeting at the Presidential office, in Athens, Greece, on June 22, 2018. Greece's political leadership warmly welcomed on Friday Eurogroup's "historic decision" on the Greek debt, which opens the way for the exit from the bailouts era this summer after eight years of debt crisis. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
ATHENS, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Greece's political leadership warmly welcomed on Friday Eurogroup's "historic decision" on the Greek debt, which opens the way for the exit from the bailouts era this summer after eight years of debt crisis.
"Yesterday we had a historic agreement... It is a deal which reflects the moral duty of our partners in response to the sacrifices of Greek people over the past eight years, so that the euro zone remains undivided," Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said during a meeting here with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos to formally brief him on the outcome of Thursday's talks in Luxembourg.
"A new chapter is opening for the country, but that does not mean that we should abandon the prudent path of fiscal balance and structural reforms our country needs," Tsipras said in statements broadcast live on Greek public broadcaster ERT.
"The decision to stay on our European course was, I strongly believe it today, a decision made by the majority of Greek people... Now we should all, we and our partners, acknowledge that what was achieved was thanks to the sacrifices of Greek people," Pavlopoulos said on his part.
Under the agreement reached by euro area finance ministers in order to ensure the sustainability of the Greek debt load after the expiry of the third bailout this August, Greece will receive a 10-year extension for the repayment of its European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) loans and an additional 10-year grace period for interest payments.
In addition, the Euro group gave the green light to release to Athens a 15 billion euros (17.4 billion U.S. dollars) final loan installment of the 86 billion euro package sealed three years ago, which will be used to cover some of its debts to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.
Following Thursday's decision, Greece will now have a more than 24 billion euros cash buffer to meet its financing needs over the next two years.
The markets' initial positive reaction to the news of the agreement was reflected on the drop of Greek state 10-year bond yields to the lowest level since mid-May to 4.11 percent, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.
The Athens Stock Exchange also welcomed the decision with equity prices rising on Friday, and the basic share price index up 2.23 percent standing at 790.13 points shortly after the opening.
The headlines on the front-pages of Greek newspapers at kiosks also reflected the optimism.
Greek main opposition party New Democracy in a statement doubted whether Thursday's deal is the final solution to Greece's woes. It argued that the government failed to achieve high growth rates, which were the only way to alleviate the country's problems. (1 euro= 1.16 US dollars)