‘Greece has turned page,’ Tsipras tweets after Luxembourg deal
The current Eurogroup president is Minister for Finance of The Netherlands Jeroen Dijsselbloem.
Earlier on Thursday, Dijsselbloem had told reporters that lenders, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), were agreed that Greece had pushed through requested reforms. Getting the money was becoming increasingly urgent as Greece has a big repayment hump next month.
But Dijsselbloem said the ministers would agree to more “clarity” on debt relief, to be delivered at the end of Greece’s bailout in 2018, even if exact figures would only be provided later.
“I hope that today we will take a very positive step forward”.
The Greek government, whose popularity has fallen sharply, is hoping that it will get something in return for the austerity measures it has imposed.
There is now “light at the end of the tunnel”, he said.
“I think with this deal the head of the debt management office will get some clearance to try to access (markets) in due course”, the Greek minister said.
Schaeuble also said previous agreements to consider reducing the burden of Greece’s debt repayments if the country complies with all conditions remained “the framework” for talks.
The decision by eurozone finance ministers reflects economic policy actions already taken by Greece and the new commitment by the IMF’s managing director Christine Lagarde to recommend that her board contribute financially to this bailout.
During a meeting in May a year ago, Greece and the institutions outlining short, medium and long-term debt measures for the beleaguered country reached an agreement. In essence, that could mean payments could be postponed in the event of an adverse shock. “And we also recognize that all sides have tried to give and compromise to some extent”.
Greece’s prime minister has renewed an appeal to global lenders to reach an agreement on easing the country’s debt burden. International Monetary Fund officials do not believe European Union assumptions that Greece can run a budget surplus (minus debt servicing) of 3.5% for years to come.
He thanked the “Greek people for their intense efforts and resolve” after the government in Athens passed the latest in a series of tough reforms to get the cash. Last month he said everything pointed to stronger growth in Greece.
For austerity-weary Greeks, the latest deal is unlikely to mean much change any time soon.
It faced more criticism Thursday when more than 2,000 elderly protesters marched through central Athens to demonstrate against further pension cuts.
“We can’t live on 300 euros (£260)!” they chanted, with some waving sticks.