Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Saturday that Greece will return to the bond markets in 2017, seven years after losing access to the markets due to its debt crisis.
"We will return to the markets in 2017," Tsipras said in an interview with the Realnews weekly newspaper.
While the eurozone country has continued to raise funds through short-term, low-risk, bonds, Greece has not had access to the medium- and long-term bond markets since 2010, when Athens sought the first of three multi-billion euro (dollar) bailouts from the EU and the International Monetary Fund. Since then Greece has made just two brief returns to the medium-term market, in 2014, during a period of slight growth. Last year Athens agreed on its third EU-IMF bailout loan and is awaiting the green light from a meeting of eurozone finance ministers, in May 24, for the latest tranche of this money to be handed over. The bailouts have required the Greek government to impose tough austerity measures that have proved hugely unpopular.
Last weekend riot police fired tear gas to disperse petrol bomb-throwing protesters in Athens as thousands took to the streets in anti-austerity demos in protest at tax hikes and pension cuts demanded by creditors, and which were approved by the Greek parliament.
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel on Monday urged debt relief for Greece, arguing that more austerity would kill off the "little green shoot of economic recovery". Alleviating the debt burden would ease Greece back towards the markets "during next year," Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis said in an interview with the Naftemporiki economic daily.