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  1. ITV Report

Greece completes three-year eurozone bailout programme

Photo: AP

Greece has successfully completed a eurozone bailout programme after receiving tens of billions of euros to help it fix its economy.

It means the country can now borrow again on international markets, having been effectively locked out by high interest rates for eight years.

The move comes after Greece saw its economy grow, unemployment fall and surplus in its budget and trade following years of heavy austerity.

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A three-year European Stability Mechanism (ESM) programme launched in 2015 saw 62 billion euros (£55bn) of financial aid given to Greece to help it re-balance its economy and banking sector.

A further 24.1 billion euros (£21.6bn) was available under the programme but was not required.

Since 2010, Greece has received a record 203.77 billion euros (£182bn) from the ESM and the European Financial Stability Facility, which is backed by eurozone countries.

Mario Centeno, chairman of the ESM board of governors, said it was wrapping up the programme Greece can now “stand on its own feet”.

“This was possible thanks to the extraordinary effort of the Greek people, the good cooperation with the current Greek government and the support of European partners through loans and debt relief,” he said.

“The ultimate goal of the financial assistance plan and reforms in Greece over the past eight years has been to create a new basis for healthy and sustainable growth.

“It took much longer than expected but I believe we are there: Greece’s economy is growing again, there is a budget and trade surplus, and unemployment is falling steadily.”