EU ends procedures forcing Greece to reduce deficit

EU ends procedures forcing Greece to reduce deficit
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker

The European Union has ended procedures forcing Greece to reduce its deficit as the country gets its books back in order despite still being mired in debt.

EU headquarters said Greece's deficit is now below 3% of GDP, the ceiling for European government deficits.

Estonian finance minister Toomas Toniste said that "after many years of severe difficulties, Greece's finances are in much better shape".

Greece's debt stood at 179% of GDP last year. The country only stayed in the euro single currency zone thanks to massive international loans keeping its finances afloat.

However, Greece recorded a budget surplus of 0.7% of GDP in 2016, and while a small deficit is forecast this year, the EU said the Greek fiscal outlook is improving.

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