The nineteen Eurozone Finance Ministers appear to have reached an agreement at the Eurogroup meeting being held now in Brussels. The agreed drafted outline will form the basis for keeping liquidity flowing to Greece, while extending the country’s bailout package. So far, though, no formal deal has been pressed in a common text.
According to an unnamed Greek official cited by Reuters, “there is an initial agreement on a joint draft text among the institutional partners, which is now being presented to all ministers,” following preparatory talks between Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “Details may be defined later. But let’s see,” the same source declared.
Moreover, following the preliminary talks with Greek, German and IMF officials, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said “there is still reason for some optimism, but it is still very difficult.”
According to the latest information emerging from the Greek government, the new agreement entails a four-month extension of the loan agreement without new austerity measures and a commitment that no unilateral actions will be taken.
According to yet another source cited by French news agency AFP, the exact agreement conditions are to be determined, nevertheless “we should await for the text to be formalized, as the delegations may also raise other objections.”
The newly elected SYRIZA-led Greek government is trying to balance between a much-needed agreement with its European loan partners in an attempt to avoid a liquidity crunch at the end of the month (when the current deal is due to expire) and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ promises to put an end to the previous government’s austerity policies, imposed by the EC/ECB/IMF Troika.
Earlier today, in an interview to Reuters, Tsipras expressed his optimism that Greece will finally strike a deal with its European loan partners in today’s crucial Eurogroup meeting. “Greece has done everything possible so that we can arrive at a mutually beneficial solution, based on the principle of double respect: respect to both the principle of European Union rules and to the electoral result of member-states,” he said.
On Thursday, the German government rejected the Greek loan agreement six-month extension request submitted by Varoufakis. According to German reasoning, Greece’s proposal does not meet the Eurozone’s conditions for continuing the aid program. Although, a fifty-minute long telephone conversation held later on the day between the Greek Prime Minister and German Chancellor Angela Merkel reversed the negative climate. The conversation between the two leaders was reportedly “held in a positive climate, geared toward finding a mutually beneficial solution for Greece and the Eurozone.”