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Battle won, war ongoing: Greece takes 'step backwards' in bailout talks

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By Euronews  with Reuters
Battle won, war ongoing: Greece takes 'step backwards' in bailout talks

‘Real difficulties’ lie ahead, warned Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras following long and sometimes heated discussions with the euro group.

We've won a battle, but not the war.

A deal agreed on Friday (February 21) gives his Syriza government until Monday to submit a list of reforms to Greece’s lenders. If the list is approved, Tsipras will secure a four-month extension to euro-zone funding, which will keep Greece afloat.

“Yesterday, we won a battle, but not the war,” said Tsipras. “The difficulties – not just those regarding the negotiations and our relations with our partners – the real difficulties are ahead of us.”

The deal is seen as a step backwards. Despite campaign promises to the contrary, Athens will now be forced to accept a conditional extension of the EU/IMF bailout and – for the time being – continue to deal with the troika: inspectors from the European Commission; the European Central Bank; and the IMF, who are closely monitoring Greece’s compliance with its austerity promises.

However, the collapse of the agreement could provoke a Grexit – Greek exit from the euro zone – something the new government is keen to avoid.