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Relief and skepticism in Greece after eurozone loan deal

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By Joanna Gill  with Reuters, AP
Relief and skepticism in Greece after eurozone loan deal

Athens can breath more easily after the country’s loan extension was approved in Brussels on Friday. But receiving a credit lifeline comes at a price.

The new government was forced into a major climbdown on some electoral promises in order to secure the deal – but for some this was merely a pragmatic approach.

“This is how agreements are: compromises, negotiations,” explained civil servant Antonis Fiamendos. “What matters from now on is to get to work and I believe things will go well. It is better than before anyway.”

The headlines in Greek newspapers read, “Breathing Space”, and “Four Month Chance” and the ruling party SYRIZA have painted the deal as a victory. However, the communist party said ultimately the bill will be footed by the people, a view shared by pensioner Paradissanos Rigas.

“It looks to me like nothing has changed,” he said. “I mean that later on, they will throw us some bones, and they will say everything is fine. Syriza will be saying ‘We put up a fight’, while the other side (the opposition) will be saying ‘You did nothing’, and I think it will be the same, and more of the same.”

The German finance minister also took the opportunity to take a jab at his Greek counterpart, saying he would have a tough time explaining the deal to Syriza voters, while Yanis Varoufakis was more tempered saying it was a small step in the right direction.