Greece Agrees New Bailout Reforms To Secure Aid

Posted February 22, 2017

The IMF has said Greece needs more leeway to pay its huge debts before further rescue funds can be released.

About the next move regarding the Greek bailout program, he said: "There will be a change in the policy mix, moving perhaps away from austerity and putting more emphasis on reform", according to his televised comments.

Eurozone finance ministers will assess Greece's progress in meeting requirements of its bailout deal with global lenders to unlock another tranche of funds.

Hopes of an imminent breakthrough that will unlock further bailout funds for the cash-strapped country were dashed in recent weeks due to disagreements between Greece and its creditors.

"I can tell from my experience that Greece is a topic you want to avoid in a campaign", Slovak Finance Minister Peter Kazimir tweeted before the Eurogroup started.

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"We managed to reach an agreement with structural reforms as its main outline, which will not have even one euro of budgetary impact - that is, not a single euro of additional austerity", Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told local Alpha TV.

"We've had intense talks with the institutions and the Greek government to clear the ground for the mission to return to Athens and in the eurogroup we will discuss whether we've come to that point", he said, using the formal name of the meeting of eurozone finance ministers.

But fears are that a long series of elections, starting with the Netherlands in March and France in April, could delay matters dangerously.

Mr Schäuble played down his words, claiming that, while Greece was "not yet over the hill", the country would not face any issues if it carried out the reforms set out by ministers.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who has taken a tough stance with Greece ever since the first bailout of May 2010, sounded positive that an agreement for inspectors to return to Athens will be reached.

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"The IMF must stay on board", said Friedrich, a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

The country is in dire need of bailout cash to meet debt repayment of more than Euro 7 billion due in July, or risk default.

Unless the targets and reforms add up, the International Monetary Fund says it can not join the bailout despite insistence from Berlin that it should.

"There could be fiscal space for growth-enhancing measures", Dijsselbloem said.

In Greece, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' government is running short of political capital to implement more austerity measures.

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There also will be a significant meeting two days later between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde in Berlin.