Greece se­cures deal to un­lock 12 bil­lion euro bailout funds

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

ATHENS: Greece an­nounced yes­ter­day it has struck a deal with its in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors to un­block some 12 bil­lion eu­ros in much-needed bailout loans. “We have reached agree­ment on ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing the 48 ad­di­tional mea­sures” that should al­low the 12 bil­lion eu­ros ($12.8 bil­lion) to be paid out on Fri­day, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos told re­porters af­ter marathon talks. “This is good news,” Eurogroup chief Jeroen Di­js­sel­bloem said in a state­ment re­leased in Brussels, adding that the funds would be paid once the Greek par­lia­ment adopts fresh re­forms on Thurs­day.

“Upon the com­ple­tion of the agreed con­di­tion­al­ity and the im­ple­mented leg­is­la­tion, the Eurogroup stand ready to sup­port the dis­burse­ment,” he said. Greece in July ac­cepted a three-year, 86-bil­lion-euro ($93bil­lion) EU bailout that saved it from crash­ing out of the euro-zone, but the deal came with strict con­di­tions. Athens has since adopted a num­ber of the un­pop­u­lar re­forms but cred­i­tors have wanted it to do more. Di­js­sel­bloem, the Dutch fi­nance min­is­ter, said that “sub­stan­tive agree­ment has been reached on all out­stand­ing is­sues” re­gard­ing the cur­rent steps that Athens must take.

The agree­ment cov­ers stream­lin­ing home fore­clo­sures, which the gov­ern­ment was re­luc­tant to ac­cept in or­der to en­sure a safety net for more vul­ner­a­ble house­holds. A Greek gov­ern­ment source said the com­pro­mise reached will pro­tect around 60 per­cent of in­debted house­holds from hav­ing their pri­mary res­i­dence seized. The Greek gov­ern­ment had sought to pro­tect more than 70 per­cent of fam­i­lies at risk of los­ing their homes, while cred­i­tors had ini­tially been will­ing to ex­clude no more than 20 per­cent from seizure. The pro­tec­tions against home seizures come with strict con­di­tions, with a re­view of pro­ce­dures planned for 2019, the source said.

The gov­ern­ment is to sub­mit the agreed mea­sures to par­lia­ment later for a vote tomorrow, the min­is­ter said. Euro-zone of­fi­cials are also ex­pected to ap­prove the agree­ment later, ahead of a Fri­day de­ci­sion to un­lock the funds. The funds in­clude 10 bil­lion eu­ros to re­cap­i­tal­ize be­lea­guered Greek banks. Af­ter storm­ing to power at the be­gin­ning of the year on a pro­gram to free Greece from the re­stric­tions of bailout pro­grams, Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras re­versed course and ac­cepted a new fi­nan­cial life­line. He won fresh elec­tions the deal trig­gered, call­ing the bailout agree­ment a “painful com­pro­mise” and a “tac­ti­cal re­treat” that en­abled the coun­try to avoid bank­ruptcy and stay in the euro. —AFP

ATHENS: Greek Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos ar­rives for a press con­fer­ence at the Min­istry in Athens yes­ter­day. —AFP

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