“A great day for the euro…” With these words German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed an agreement by the 16 EU countries using the euro single currency to help Greece in its debt crisis — an accord reached at a summit in Brussels, now in its second day.
The broader underlying objective is to guarantee the 27-member bloc’s economic stability.
Bilateral loans commitments from eurozone states for Greece would cover two-thirds of some 22 billion euros in aid, the International Monetary Fund the rest.
But tough conditions apply, and Athens must first try to raise funds from the markets.
While the Greek prime minister welcomed the deal, public opinion fell short of euphoria.
This cautious comment came from man-in-the-street interviews in Athens: “The way it was presented looks positive, but we have a long road ahead of us, we have a diffciult job ahead of us. We must be disciplined.”
Greek newspapers spoke of ‘enhancing’ their banks’ liquidity, a ‘European safety cushion’ and a joint eurozone-IMF ‘life preserver’.