Eurozone nations get deal to end bailout of Greece


Associated Press

LUXEMBOURG

Eurozone nations agreed on the final elements of a plan to get Greece out of its eight-year bailout program and make its massive debt more manageable.

The finance ministers of the 19 nations took daylong talks into this morning and reached a surprisingly hard-fought compromise which had seemed within easy reach for the past few days.

The ministers needed to finalize a deal between Greece and its international creditors that would allow it to safely emerge from its third and final bailout program on Aug. 20 and face the markets again.

“Greek debt is sustainable going forward,” said eurogroup president Mario Centeno.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said going into the meeting that “we have to recognize that Greece has really made the job – they have fulfilled their commitments.”

Yet despite those good vibes the deal to keep Greece’s debt manageable long remained elusive on Thursday.

“It took a bit longer than we expected, but ended in a very good way,” Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said. “I think it is the end of the Greek crisis ... a historic moment.”

Centeno said that under the deal, Greece could delay back repayment on billions in loans by 10 years, giving it a financial breather, while stricter deadlines could have further choked the economy over the next decade. It also got another injection of 15 billion euros.

Greece had already gotten some 275 billion euros in financial support from its international creditors over the past eight years. Over those years, Greece twice got perilously close to being kicked out of the eurogroup, EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said.

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