Europe

Greece planning cautious return to bond markets in 2017

  • Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, speaks during a news conference about Greece's bailout program, in Athens, Thursday, May 26, 2016. Bailout-dependent Greece has agreed to carry out new austerity measures and reforms to secure vital rescue loans from its European creditors. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, speaks during a news conference about Greece's bailout program, in Athens, Thursday, May 26, 2016. Bailout-dependent Greece has agreed to carry out new austerity measures and reforms to secure vital rescue loans from its European creditors. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

  • Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, left and deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis arrive at a news conference about Greece's bailout program, in Athens ,Thursday, May 26, 2016. Bailout-dependent Greece has agreed to carry out new austerity measures and reforms to secure vital rescue loans from its European creditors. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, left and deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis arrive at a news conference about Greece's bailout program, in Athens ,Thursday, May 26, 2016. Bailout-dependent Greece has agreed to carry out new austerity measures and reforms to secure vital rescue loans from its European creditors. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

  • Greek Finance Minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, left speaks next to deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis during a news conference about Greece's bailout program, in Athens, Thursday, May 26, 2016. Bailout-dependent Greece has agreed to carry out new austerity measures and reforms to secure vital rescue loans from its European creditors. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

    Greek Finance Minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, left speaks next to deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis during a news conference about Greece's bailout program, in Athens, Thursday, May 26, 2016. Bailout-dependent Greece has agreed to carry out new austerity measures and reforms to secure vital rescue loans from its European creditors. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)  (The Associated Press)

A senior official in Greece's finance ministry says the country is planning a gradual return to international debt markets next year.

George Houliarakis, a deputy finance minister, said the decision would hinge on a return to economic growth in 2017 — as forecast by the European Union — and a continued drop in sovereign borrowing rates.

Greece has been locked out of debt markets since 2010, with a brief return two years ago. Interest rates on Greek government bonds have eased after Athens and eurozone rescue lenders ended months of delays in reviewing the Greek bailout program.

European lenders agreed this week to unfreeze more rescue loans and to consider debt relief, days after Greece's left-wing government passed a massive new round of austerity measures that include across-the-board tax hikes.