Eurogroup chief announces ‘breakthrough’ in Greek bailout talks

Euro area ministers meeting in Malta reach agreement on ‘overarching matters’ that would unlock the deadlock between Athens and the EU and the IMF

7 April 2017, 3:10pm
Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem addresses a press conference at the end of the meeting in Malta
Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem addresses a press conference at the end of the meeting in Malta
Ministers of the Euro area meeting in Malta have registered “significant progress” over talks that would allow Greece to take the loans under its bailout agreement.

The deal is needed in order to stop the country from defaulting on its creditors as early as July, when Athens owes about seven billion euros in debt repayments.

Addressing a press conference at the end of the meeting, Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said: “We have achieved significant progress on the second review since the Eurogroup’s last meeting in March.”

He said, that the Eurogroup had at the time agreed to change the strategy and the order of things whilst talks intensified to reach an agreement between the institutions and Athens over big reforms. Once this was achieved, the euro area ministers would then finalise details to solve the smaller pending issues.

“We have been successful in doing so and we now have an agreement over the overarching policies.”

Dijsselbloem said the Greek government was now prepared to reduce pensions in 2019 and lower tax breaks in 2020 in return for a bailout payment despite widespread public opposition.

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said the commitments would pass through parliament as soon as possible.