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Greece reports first government surplus since 1995

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Staff Writer | April 24, 2017
Greece street
Europe   Primary surplus stood at 3.9% of GDP in Greece

Greece posted an overall government surplus of EUR1.288 billion, or 0.7% of its gross domestic product in 2016, the EU statistical agency Eurostat said.

The figure, which includes debt service, marks the first time that Greece has reported a government surplus since Eurostat began recording the indicator in 1995 and comes as the heavily-indebted country and its European creditors are aiming to finalize the terms of its next bailout payment.

In 2015, the country reported a government deficit of 5.9% of GDP.

However, despite the progress, Greece's government debt was still the highest in the EU, amounting to EUR314.9 billion, or 179% of GDP in 2016.

The EU data comes as Greece on Friday reported a 2016 budget surplus of EUR7 billion, excluding debt service, exceeding one of the targets set by its international creditors.

According to the figures by the Hellenic Statistical Authority, the so-called primary surplus stood at 3.9% of GDP, meeting creditors' demand to achieve a primary surplus of at least 0.5% of GDP.

Greece has been reliant on international creditors since it suffered a financial meltdown in 2010. The country's primary surplus has been a major sticking point between the two sides.

The EU report also noted that government deficit for the 19-nation eurozone stood at 1.5%, which is a decrease from 2.1% in 2015. For the 28-member EU as a whole, the figure stood at 1.7% in 2016, which was down from 2.4% in 2015.


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