THE European Union has announced that Greece is no longer breaking budget rules.

Yesterday’s recommendation from the EU Commission to end the so-called “excessive deficit procedure” on Greece comes after a sharp improvement in finances following years of spending cuts and tax increases, and a recession that wiped out a quarter of the economy and caused unemploy-ment and poverty to swell.

“This is a very symbolic moment for Greece,” said Pierre Moscovici, the EU’s top economy official.

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“It’s the end of austerity, and the end of austerity means also we need to move to a strategy that’s based on growth, job creation and social fairness.”

Greece has been under the spotlight since 2009 when its debt crisis exploded in the wake of a statistics scandal that showed the public finances were in far worse shape than thought.