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Greece, EU Reach Agreement Over Bailout Plan

  • VOA News

Greece and its European creditors are praising Friday's agreement extending the economic bailout for Greece and allowing it to avoid possible bankruptcy next week.

The deal gives Greece another four months to repay its lenders and also lets it come up with its own package of economic reforms.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said the agreement lets both sides "turn a page."

"As of today [Friday], we are beginning to be the co-authors of our own destiny," he told reporters.

Greece plans to submit its list of reforms to European officials Monday.

But the Greeks did not get everything they wanted. They had asked for a six-month extension of the bailout, but were only given four.

Greece was hit hard by the 2008 global financial crisis. It needed a $270 billion bailout from the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund to avoid total economic collapse.

The deal demanded Greece make drastic economic reforms, however, including deeps cuts in public spending which many Greeks say created unreasonable hardships.

Greece's new leftist prime minister Alexis Tsipras campaigned on promises to fix what he believes was a bad deal agreed to by the former conservative government.

Markets soar

The breakthrough sent the global market indices up in Europe and the United States.

The loan extension would allow Greece to pay its bills and avoid an eventual bankruptcy and fallout from the eurozone.

European leaders said Friday before the agreement was reached that Greece should stay in the 19-nation eurozone, as finance ministers were working to reach a compromise.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Paris after talks with French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that her country’s position "since the beginning of the Greek program" has been that Greece remains a member of the eurozone, adding that Berlin "would do everything to continue along this path."

Germany, the main European creditor, has repeatedly said that any extension of loans was "inextricably" linked to the reforms agreed to by the previous Greek government.

Greece's leftist government had rejected that option, arguing that conditions attached to the bailout package have plunged the country into poverty.

Some information in this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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