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Eurozone finance ministers approve Greece bailout program

Finance ministers from the Eurozone have given the green light to the reforms submitted by Greece in exchange for the four-month extension of its bailout deal after a similar move by the European Commission. As many as nineteen ministers from the Eurozone released a statement on Tuesday, agreeing to extend Greece’s financial rescue package by four months. Earlier in the day, Greece unveiled its list of proposed reform measures to the European Union in a bid to secure the extension. The four-chapter reform list, which was unveiled publicly on Tuesday, includes a series of measures for bettering efficiencies in tax collection, the social security system and government bureaucracy.

The list is also aimed at fighting corruption, improving business and backing privatization. The reform measures, which are intended to alleviate poverty, will have “no negative fiscal effect.” The ministers said in the statement that the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund confirmed that the reforms proposed by Greece were “sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point.” “We therefore agreed to proceed with the national procedures with a view to reaching the final decision on the extension by up to four months,” the Eurozone foreign ministers added.

In order for the initiative to take effect, it should win the approval of parliaments in several countries in Europe especially in Germany. The head of the parliamentary group of Germany’s the ruling Christian Democrats party, Michael Grosse-Broemer, said the case will be filed by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in the lower house on February 27. Grosse-Broemer also expressed confidence that “wide agreement will be reached,” despite “reservations about making further payments” to Greece.

Over the past weeks, Athens and the European Union have been at loggerheads over the country’s bailout loans. The government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose leftist Syriza Party stormed to victory in January 25 elections, has tried to renegotiate the terms of the country’s €240-billion ($270-billion) bailout it received in 2010 in return for imposing harsh austerity measures. During his electoral campaign, Tsipras vowed to reconsider the austerity measures, which have caused mounting dissatisfaction in the country.


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