Greece sends signal of returning to normality: European Commission's mission to Greece

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ATHENS, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Greece sends a signal that the country has returned to normality, although several challenges remain, the head of the European Commission's mission to Greece Declan Costello said here on Wednesday.

"A continuation and completion of reforms was necessary. To stop this back and forth which - in my opinion - was the cause that kept the crisis going for eight years in Greece," Costello stated, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

The remarks were made during a conference organized by the European Commission with the Athens based Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) on priorities for sustainable growth and competitiveness.

The size of the state debt load and the burden of nonperforming loans are some of the challenges that still need to be tackled to allow the banking sector breathing space to finance the real economy again in order to boost growth and competitiveness, he said.

Referring to the opportunities offered by Greece in the post-crisis period that will support the economy's recovery, Costello focused on the fields of transport and energy.

Greece exited last August the third bailout program implemented since 2010 in the country to address the Greek debt crisis with the support of the EU and International Monetary Fund.

The financial indexes have improved in recent months, showing that the economy is on the mend after many years of steep recession and painful austerity measures, along reforms, but efforts must continue, the European official stressed.

Greece must accelerate from the current 2 percent economic growth rate to 3.5-4 percent rate in the future to build a solid healthy economy, he said. Enditem

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