In a statement issued later in the day, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras described the move as âa significant stepâ for Greece that would help it âgain sustainable and stable access to the international markets.â
Ireland and Portugal, which were also severely affected by the euro crisis, exited their international bailout programs several years ago and are experiencing economic revivals. The eurozone recovery has also been gathering pace, with annualized growth at 2.3 percent in the first quarter, stronger than that of the United States.
The bond offering does not mean that Greece is out of the woods. It is just the first of several steps that Athens must take to test whether it can raise money in international markets to support its economy and government operations when the latest bailout, worth â¬86 billion, expires in August 2018.
Greece continues to stagger under a mountain of debt, which is now worth â¬314 billion. That problem has provoked clashes between the countryâs two main creditors, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission, over how best to proceed.
The fund has said that Greece cannot truly recover unless Europe trims its debt; otherwise â so the argument runs â Athens may need more lifelines in the future. Germany, the biggest enforcer of austerity in Greece, has repeatedly rebuffed that demand.
The Greek economy is still reeling from years of severe budget tightening, pension cuts, tax increases and other austerity actions required under the bailout programs. To rebuild its finances, Athens will need to maintain those measures even after the current rescue expires next year.
Holding the course on austerity has been a remarkable turnabout by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who swept to power in 2015 as a maverick political outsider promising to tear up the bailouts and repudiate the budget squeezing. Mr. Tsipras and his leftist Syriza party nearly pulled Greece out of the eurozone in the…