European Shares Poised For Subdued Start Ahead Of UK Budget

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Some good news for Greece. The EU Commission has said the country's public finances are back in order. Reuters reports: 

Greece's fiscal position has improved and the European Union should end disciplinary procedures against it over its excessive deficit, the EU commission said on Wednesday, paving the way for the country to return to international bond markets.

EU fiscal rules oblige member states to keep their budget deficits below 3pc of their economic output or face sanctions that could entail hefty fines, although so far no country has received a financial penalty.

Greece recorded a 0.7pc surplus last year and is expected to have a deficit of only 1.2pc in 2017.

"Our recommendation to close the excessive deficit procedure for Greece is another positive signal of financial stability and economic recovery in the country," EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said in a statement.

Ending the procedure - a step that must still be confirmed by EU states - would further reduce the pressure on Athens after euro zone creditors unblocked new loans to it worth 8.5bn euros ast week as part of its 86bn euro bailout programme.

The move, which was widely expected, should help Greece in issuing new bonds in the coming weeks or months. With the exception of two bonds in 2014, Athens has been absent from the markets since the start of the euro zone debt crisis in 2009.

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