Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Greece bailout elements 'in place'

A shoe shiner tries to keep warm in Athens as eurozone finance ministers meet over a bailout deal for Greece (AP)

European governments are ready to agree to a new bailout package for Greece, France's finance minister has said ahead of a meeting with his counterparts in Brussels.

Francois Baroin said that while details will have to be worked out, "the political commitments have been made" for a new 130 billion euro (£110 billion) bailout for Athens.

"We now have all the elements of a deal - elements of a participation that remains voluntary for banks and private lenders, and for public lender states, central banks," he said.

"We hope we and the euro group members can take into account all the Greek government has done for several weeks - even several months," he said.

Funds from the bailout, he said, would be placed in a "special-purpose account that makes it possible to signpost some of that money and guarantee Greece's repayment of its creditors".

The US has expressed support for the IMF to take part in an aid programme for Greece, whose government has faced violent protests over austerity measures aimed at avoiding default next month.

The measures, coming after months of delay, would mark a second massive bailout for Athens. Critics doubt Greek political leaders' commitment to austerity and difficult details remain to be ironed out.

Greece is straining to secure the rescue loans and the debt relief deal quickly to avoid defaulting on a bond redemption on March 20.

The government has already pushed a massive austerity and reform package though parliament and is expected to introduce in Parliament two more pieces of emergency legislation, including wage and pension cuts.

There were scattered protests over the cuts in Athens on Sunday.

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