Greek Bailout Deal Agreed ”In Principle”
Greece and the international creditors have agreed on a new multi-billion euro bailout agreement which will keep Greece in the Eurozone and the country will avert bankruptcy. Now the deal will be voted in the Greek Parliament.
”An agreement has been reached. Some minor details are being discussed right now”, a Finance Ministry official said after marathon overnight talks, The Greek Reporter reports.
After the bill passes through the Greek Parliament, the deal must be sent to Eurozone Finance Ministers, who will then have to proceed with having it approved by their respective parliaments.
The deal was expected to be reached ahead of a looming European Central Bank (ECB) repayment of 3.4 billion euros scheduled for August 20.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had phone conversations on Monday evening with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament President Martin Schulz aiming to speed up the negotiations in order to reach an agreement by Tuesday, The Telegraphreports.
During his contacts, Tsipras underlined the need to complete the negotiations according to the EU Summit decisions, noting that Greece’s government is already moving on this direction.
Greek government sources estimate that Tsipras’ intervention was decisive and the developments confirmed all sides’ volition for an agreement.
The measures demanded include changes to tonnage tax for shipping firms, reducing the prices of generic drugs, a review of the social welfare system, strengthening of the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE), phasing out of early retirement, scrapping tax breaks for islands by the end of 2016, implementation of the product market reforms proposed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), deregulating the energy market and proceeding with the privatization program already in place.
The German government has expressed its reservations over the progress of talks and underlined that any payments to Greece must be associated with Athens’ progress in implementing agreed reforms. A spokesperson for German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble argued that Berlin is not participating in the Athens talks, but will carefully examine any agreement documents before putting it to the vote of the German parliament, To Vima writes.
There is no doubt that the agreement will be painful socially and politically for the government. However, with the economy in the state that it is, it is obvious that any other choice would be absolutely catastrophic. The uncertainty experienced in society and the economy must finally come to an end. Neither the country, nor society can endure any further adventures.