• Germany's news in English

Eurozone approves huge new Greek bailout

Josephine McKenna · 15 Aug 2015, 09:38

Published: 15 Aug 2015 09:38 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Earlier Friday, Greek lawmakers passed the accord following a bitter all-night debate on the conditions demanded by Athens' creditors which could alter many aspects of daily life.
"New loans of up to €86 billion ($96 billion) will be made available over the next three years to Greece," the European Commission said after six hours of talks in Brussels.
Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said six months of negotiations with the left-wing government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras -- who won office in January opposed to the creditors' demands -- had been difficult and testing.
"Together, we have looked into the abyss. But today, I am glad to say that all sides have respected their commitments. Greece is living up to its ambitious reform commitments," Juncker said in a statement.
"The message of today's (meeting) is loud and clear: on this basis, Greece is and will irreversibly remain a member of the euro area."
A first disbursement for Greece next week will total €13 billion, helping cover a debt payment to the European Central Bank due on August 20.
Tsipras rode to power in January on a wave of popular anger against the tax hikes, spending cuts and reforms demanded by creditors in exchange for two previous bailouts costing €240 billion.
He said this austerity medicine had only damaged, not helped, an economy which emerged from six years of brutal recession in 2014.
A tired Euclid Tsakalotos, the Greek finance minister, emerged from Friday's meeting saying it was now up to his compatriots to forge ahead.
"Let's hope that the Greek people will be able to make the best of this deal, to make (the) best of the reforms and the ability to reform and mitigate any negative consequences that surely exist within it," Tsakalotos said in a statement.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble of Germany, Europe's effective paymaster who has also been a hard taskmaster on the bailout, said "we want to seize this chance" to revive Greece's economy.
“We must remain at the same time cautious, because naturally it concerns large sums made available," he told a press conference.
Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chaired the Eurogoup meeting, said ministers "welcomed the wide scope of policy measures (in the accord) which if implemented with determination will address the main challenges facing the Greek economy".
"We are confident that decisive and swift as possible implementation … will allow the Greek economy to return to a sustainable growth path based on sound public finances, enhanced competitiveness, high employment and financial stability," he added.
Under the programme, Greece will have to balance its books to produce a primary budget surplus -- that is, before interest payments -- and take on a major privatization programme to help reduce a debt mountain of some €320 billion.
The sale of state assets should produce more than €6 billion in the three years but the ultimate target is €50 billion, to recapitalize the banking system and reduce debt.
Dijsselbloem recognised that dealing with the debt was among the most important issues, especially for the International Monetary Fund which believes Greece cannot get back on its feet without some relief.
But Germany, Europe's paymaster, has been sceptical of, if not outright opposed to, any "haircut" or partial writedown that could potentially cost it and other holders of Greek debt billions of euros.
Dijsselbloem said the Eurogroup also opposed any "haircut" but was ready to consider other options, including longer maturities for the debt.
"The Eurogroup considers the continued programme involvement of the IMF as indispensable," he said in a statement.
IMF head Christine Lagarde participated in the meeting via a teleconference link and in a separate statement said the accord "is a very important step forward".
"However, I remain firmly of the view that Greece's debt has become unsustainable and that Greece cannot restore debt sustainability solely through actions on its own," she said.
"Thus, it is equally critical for medium and long-term debt sustainability that Greece's European partners make concrete commitments ... to provide significant debt relief, well beyond what has been considered so far."
Progress would allow the IMF to consider further support for Greece after a review of the programme, expected in October, she added.

A third of MPs in Tsipras's radical-left party Syriza rebelled against him in Friday's vote and he only managed to push the deal through with the help of the opposition -- raising fresh speculation he will be forced to call early elections.
The accord goes far beyond economic management to include an extensive overhaul of Greece's health and social welfare systems plus its business practices and public administration.
Seemingly small details of daily life will also be affected by the new rules, from visits to the doctor to an extension of the expiry dates on pasteurised milk in the supermarkets.
Tsipras told parliament his government had "taken on the responsibility to continue the fight rather than commit suicide and then go running to other international forums saying it wasn't fair that we had to kill ourselves".

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Josephine McKenna (news@thelocal.it)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd