Greece agrees ‘in principle’ on fresh bailout reforms

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Greece agrees ‘in principle’ on fresh bailout reforms

Valletta, Apr 7 (AFP) Greece agreed on a fresh set of reforms with its eurozone creditors today, boosting hopes Athens can unlock fresh bailout cash in time to avert a debt default this summer.

“I welcome the agreement in principle on Greece at the Eurogroup after several months of difficult negotiations,” EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said in Malta after a meeting of eurozone finance ministers.

Heavily-indebted Athens and the EU and IMF have been deadlocked over reforms for months amid disagreements on debt relief and budget targets for Greece.

The deal is needed to prevent a possible default as early as July when Athens owes about seven billion euros in debt repayments.

“The big blocks have now been sorted out and now we just have the final stretch,” Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said after the talks.

Dijsselbloem said the Greek government was now prepared to reduce pensions in 2019 and increase taxes in 2020 despite widespread public opposition.

“The situation in Greece is not improving and that is something we are responsible for. This is taking too long,” said Dijsselbloem, who is also Dutch finance minister.

Despite projections for growth, the Greek economy actually stalled in 2016 and recent data show that after some stabilisation, it has begun to falter again amid uncertainty triggered by the debt row. (AFP)

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.