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Eurozone ministers agree "breakthrough" deal with Greece

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Eurozone ministers agree "breakthrough" deal with Greece

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Eurozone finance ministers have agreed to offer Greece debt relief in 2018. The amount was not “quantified” by its creditors but the deal is being seen as a break through for the country.

The agreement also won a commitment from the IMF finally to return to taking part in the bailout for Athens.

The IMF has long insisted on the European governments taking a hit to relieve Athens of some of its debt in order to make its public finances more sustainable. The refusal of Germany and others to do that had led to months of wrangling with the IMF in which Athens had been something of a spectator in negotiations.

Todays deal also unlocks funds of €10.3bn to pay loans which mature next month.

Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem:

“This is very good news – already this part of the agreement of today is very good news, because it shows that the programme is fully back on track and Greece has done a lot, delivering a lot and we are making good progress there.”

After talks which lasted long into the early hours of Wednesday morning, ministers said Greece will have a short-term re-profiling of its loans, to bring down the countries overall financing costs.

Earlier this week there were protests outside the Greek Parliament while lawmakers approved yet more austerity measures which had included more tax hikes.
In recent weeks they had already passed pension reforms.

Greece’s government had said that painful fiscal reforms were needed to secure a favourable response from Eurogroup finance ministers.

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