Bailout talks move back to Athens

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD -

Dis­cus­sions over Greece’s third bailout in five years are set to be­gin in Athens im­mi­nently af­ter Greece’s par­lia­ment ap­proved Thurs­day tough new con­di­tions set by Euro­pean cred­i­tors.

Of­fi­cials in Athens and at the Euro­pean Union said ne­go­tia­tors are ex­pected to start ar­riv­ing on Fri­day, mark­ing the first time high- level talks will be held in the Greek cap­i­tal since Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras’ left-wing gov­ern­ment as­sumed power in late Jan­uary.

The news came hours af­ter the Greek par­lia­ment ap­proved a sec­ond round of re­forms de­manded by Greece’s cred­i­tors be­fore the ne­go­ti­a­tions could start over a three­year fi­nan­cial bailout ex­pected to be worth $93 bil­lion.

With­out the money, Greece would be un­able to pay the debts due over the com­ing three years and would likely be forced to leave the euro, Europe’s shared cur­rency. Last week’s de­ci­sion at a sum­mit of the eu­ro­zone’s 19 lead­ers to open up bailout dis­cus­sions pro­vided cer­tain con­di­tions were met by Athens has helped ease the sense of eco­nomic cri­sis that was en­velop­ing Greece.

Over the past week, par­lia­ment has ap­proved two sets of cred­i­tor de­mands _ the first in­tro­duced sweep­ing sales tax in­creases, the sec­ond con­cerned ju­di­cial and bank­ing re­forms.

De­spite fac­ing a re­bel­lion among his own party’s ranks in both votes, Tsipras’ coali­tion gov­ern­ment has sur­vived. He re­lied on op­po­si­tion par­ties to push the mea­sures through.

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