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Greece back from the brink as eurozone agrees four-month loan extension


Greece

Greece back from the brink as eurozone agrees four-month loan extension

Greece has secured agreement from the eurozone and IMF that its bailout package will be extended by four months.

But the deal will only be ratified once Greece’s creditors are satisfied with a list of reforms Athens must submit in the last week of February 2015.

“Nobody is asking us to impose upon our economy and society measures that we don’t agree with and this is the beauty of this agreement,” Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told a news conference in Brussels.

“We now have a new framework but we respect the previous one. Now we are concentrating on co-authoring these reforms and these are the reforms we are going to be judged by.”

The two main combatants around the table in Brussels put a radically different gloss on the result.

Germany, Greece’s largest creditor, had demanded “significant improvements” in reform commitments before agreeing to the extension.

While German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is now on board, he stressed that Athens would get no aid payments until its bailout programme was properly completed.

Greece’s new leftist-led government, which came to power in January on pledges to end austerity policies, originally wanted a six month loan extension.

What they have got comes days before Greece’s bailout was due to expire and averts a potential cash crunch that could have forced Athens out of the eurozone.

“The ball is now in the Greek government’s court,” said our correspondent at the talks in Brussels, Efi Koutsokosta.

“By Monday it must submit a list with all the reforms it intends to implement in the coming months. The review of their implementation will be done by the end of April, with the payment of the next tranche of the loan deal dependent on this.”

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