Wall Street Journal
April 23, 2014
Greece beat its budget targets last year, Europe's statistics agency said Wednesday, confirming a dramatic turnaround in the country's public finances and opening the way for fresh debt reduction measures by Greece's euro-zone partners in the months ahead.
According to the data, Greece achieved a primary budget surplus—before counting debt payments—of €1.5 billion in 2013 ($2.08 billion); one year ahead of expectations and higher than the goal set by the country's international creditors who stipulated that Athens aim for a balanced primary budget last year.
The data is a "reflection of the remarkable progress Greece has made in repairing its public finances since 2010," Simon O'Connor, a spokesman for the European Commission said at a news conference in Brussels.
Last year's primary surplus represents the first by Greece in a decade, and the confirmation from Eurostat Wednesday comes almost exactly four years after Greece sought the first of two successive international bailouts to fix its budget problems and overhaul its economy.