Grexit averted as Eurozone leaders reach unanimous agreement
Although he campaigned on an anti-austerity platform, PM Alexis Tsipras finally relented to undertake drastic measures as conditions for the bailout. (AFP/Thierry Charlier)
Eurozone leaders have reached a unanimous agreement on extending a bailout loan to Greece, European Council President Donald Tusk says.
The agreement came after all-night talks in Brussels and an unprecedented ultimatum given to Athens to accept harsh economic reforms.
"Euro summit has unanimously reached agreement. All ready to go for ESM program for Greece with serious reforms and financial support," Tusk tweeted in reference to the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund.
The agreement capped weeks of grueling talks but it is set to shake the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to the core, especially after the Greeks have said “No” to the eurozone terms in a referendum.
Greece’s lenders were demanding the country adopt fresh austerity measures for pensions, labor markets, wages and taxation in order to get 7.2 billion euros in bailout money.
In the first sign of what the future holds in store for the Syriza government, Greek Labor Minister Panos Skourletis said the terms are unviable and will lead to new elections this year.
Tsipras had resisted the tough conditions for weeks but he buckled under pressure after Germany and other eurozone leaders threatened to sell off Greek assets to pay down the country's debt.
The lenders demanded that assets worth up to 50 billion euros be placed in a trust fund beyond government reach to be sold off. Berlin went as far as demanding a structure to manage the assets but diplomats warned it would amount to turning Greece into a “German protectorate” and stripping it further of its sovereignty.
Greece has accrued a huge debt from the bailout which has failed to put its economy back on track and push it back from the brink of bankruptcy.
Without the agreement, Athens would have run the risk of slipping into bankruptcy and exiting the European monetary union.
Tsipras has now to rush six sweeping measures including spending cuts, tax hikes and pension reforms through parliament and have them enacted by Wednesday night.
The motion is set to put him on a collision course with his 18 partners in the government. With Tsipras still at the negotiating table, his Labor Minister Skourletis went on the state TV to say, "It's clear this deal does not represent us."
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