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Greece, international lenders agree on loan terms

European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer (R) speaks with Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos during the inauguration of the EIB offices in Athens, Greece, on September 29, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Greece has reached a preliminary agreement with its international lenders on reforms needed to receive funds and help end a seven-year-old financial crisis.

The agreement, between Athens and eurozone financers and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), introduces reforms on fiscal issues, energy, labor, and privatization as part of Athens’ bailout program, which started in 2010.

Analysts said the loan could provide the thrust to push Greece toward a return to full market financing by August 2018.

Greece’s Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told reporters on Saturday that the deal had been closed on staff level and needed EU’s final approval.

“The European institutions have reached a staff level agreement with the Greek authorities on the policy package supporting the ESM (European Stability Program) program,” an EU statement said later on Saturday.

Greek leaders were “fully committed to conclude [sic] the program,” an EU official added.

Greek officials’ full commitment to the lenders’ demands must be assessed and approved by eurozone finance ministers, who are scheduled to meet on Monday.

Once the so-called third review is concluded, the lenders are expected to release about five billion euros in loans from the current 86-billion-euro bailout program — Greece’s third since 2010.

After seven years of austerity and rescue loans amounting to about 270 billion euros (320 billion dollars), Greece hopes its third bailout will be its last.

A growing number of Greek citizens are now claiming that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has failed to deliver his election promise of putting an end to austerity measures hindering the country’s growth and sapping its energy.

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