Eurozone gets deal to pave way for end to Greece's bailout

Eurozone gets deal to pave way for end to Greece's bailout

Eurozone gets deal to pave way for end to Greece's bailout

"We will ensure that the pressure to implement further reforms remains the medium and long term", said Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Loger.

In addition, the Euro group gave the green light to release to Athens a 15 billion euros (17.4 billion US dollars) final loan installment of the 86 billion euro package sealed three years ago, which will be used to cover some of its debts to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

Officials said on Thursday that only part of the outstanding 22 billion euros owned by the International Monetary Fund and euro central banks could be bought out, adding that talks were still ongoing.

The eurozone creditors also agreed to disburse 15 billion euros ($17.5 billion) to ease the country's exit from its programme.

"Obviously we would have been much happier with a lower fiscal surplus", Tsakalotos said. Greece's political leadership warmly welcomed on Friday Eurogroup's "historic decision" on the Greek debt, which opens the way for the exit from the bailouts era this summer after eight years of debt crisis.

"It is an exceptional moment", Pierre Moscovici, the EU's economy commissioner, said after the meeting. "The question of the Greek debt is behind us".

The rescue loans came in return for hundreds of stringent reforms that landed like a rock on a Greek economy, which shrank by almost 25 percent in just a few years and sent unemployment surging. As part of the debt deal, Greece is foreseen to maintain a primary surplus - which excludes interest payments - worth 2.2 percent of gross domestic product from 2023 until 2060.

"We'll have to see if the pledges will be kept, especially as they depend on worldwide developments as well", he said.

"What follows is tough oversight which no other country has experienced in a post-bailout period", the daily said.

Opposite the hardliners were France and the European Central Bank, which argued that reduced debt was crucial in order for Greece to gain the trust of the markets.

After eight years of harsh public spending cuts and economic reforms, Greece has reached a deal with creditors on debt relief.

Euro zone finance ministers extended maturities and deferred interest of a major part of their loans to Greece and agreed a big cash injection to ensure Athens is able manage a debt level that many feared was unsustainable.

French President Emmanuel Macron also hailed the "very positive" agreement, saying it showed that "Europe is moving forward" despite recent difficulties.

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