ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece has repaid its outstanding debts dating back to its financial crisis to the International Monetary Fund, two years ahead of schedule, the country’s finance minister said Monday.
Christos Staikouras hailed the payment as “a very positive development” that would mean significant savings in debt servicing costs.
“This closes a chapter that opened in May 2010, when Greece appealed to the fund for financial support,” Staikouras said.
Greece’s European Union bailout lenders gave the formal go-ahead last week for the early repayment of the outstanding loans worth 1.86 billion euros ($2 billion). Their approval was needed as the initial requirement was for early IMF repayments to be made in parallel with those made to European lenders.
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.