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Eurozone Finance Ministers Approve Greek Bailout

BRUSSELS — Eurozone finance ministers on Friday backed a Greek bailout plan approved earlier in the day by lawmakers in Athens, overcoming months of bitterness. The finance ministers ended lengthy talks in Brussels after finessing the final elements of the deal, which grants Greece as much as 86 billion euros, or about $95 billion, during the next three years. The sticking points had included the role of the International Monetary Fund and the possibility of reducing Greece’s debt-repayment burden and the process for recapitalizing the country’s banks. “The past six months have been difficult,” Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission , the European Union executive body that helped broker the deal, said in a statement. “Together, we have looked into the abyss. But today, I am glad to say that all sides have respected their commitments.” In a statement, the managing director of the I.M.F., Christine Lagarde, […]

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Dismal Debt Outlook for Greece Raises Pressure on European Creditors

ATHENS—A bleak debt forecast for Greece is raising pressure on Europe to grant the country softer loan terms, exacerbating tensions among its creditors as they try to seal a new Greek rescue deal within days. The new forecast, prepared by European Union officials in a document seen by The Wall Street Journal, predicts sharply higher Greek debt than Europe had previously hoped and shows just how far Greece is from escaping its marathon crisis. The assessment, which calls for “debt-mitigating measures,” increases the likelihood that its creditors, led by Germany, will have to allow Athens significantly more time to repay its huge bailout debt, European policy makers say. That conclusion is politically painful for Berlin but now looks mathematically inescapable, these officials say. The worsening outlook stood in contrast to some rare good news from Athens: Government data showed the Greek economy grew in the second quarter, defying expectations […]

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Greece, lenders locked in marathon talks for bailout deal

Greece and its international lenders were locked in marathon overnight talks to seal a multibillion-euro bailout deal on Tuesday, racing against a countdown to European Central Bank debt repayments falling due in days. The indebted country is hoping to wrap up a deal for 86 billion euros ($94.75 billion) in fresh loans by Tuesday so it can get parliamentary and other approvals for aid to flow by Aug. 20, when a 3.2 billion euro debt payment is due to the ECB. "We are going into the final round of talks, looking at the Memorandum of Understanding from beginning to end," a senior Greek government official said during a brief break in talks in Athens, referring to terms of the bailout accord. The latest round of negotiations started early on Monday afternoon. An agreement would mark the end of a painful chapter on bailout talks for Greece, which fought against […]

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Greece Says Bailout Terms Reached

Greece and international creditors have reached an agreement on the terms needed to provide the country with a third bailout worth up to €86 billion ($94.76 billion), although some details remain unresolved, a Greek government official said Tuesday. After talks that ran for more than 18 hours, government spokesman Theodoros Mihopoulos said in a tweet that “negotiations have been completed. There are some details left.” It wasn’t immediately clear what the outstanding details concerned or whether creditors, eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund, agree that the deal is complete. Other eurozone countries must ratify any agreement between Greece and the international institutions overseeing its bailout program. The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A German finance ministry spokesman said he couldn’t yet confirm an overall deal. Earlier Tuesday, German Deputy Finance Minister Jens Spahn said negotiations were continuing in […]

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Greek PM Tsipras under pressure over covert Syriza drachma plan reports

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens, Greece July 24, 2015. Some members of Greece’s leftist government wanted to raid central bank reserves and hack taxpayer accounts to prepare a return to the drachma, according to reports on Sunday that highlighted the chaos in the ruling Syriza party. It is not clear how seriously the plans, attributed to former Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, were considered by the government and both ministers were sacked earlier this month. However the reports have been seized on by opposition parties who have demanded an explanation. The reports came at the end of a week of fevered speculation over what Syriza hardliners had in mind as an alternative to the tough bailout terms that Tsipras reluctantly accepted to keep Greece in the euro. Around a quarter of the party’s 149 lawmakers rebelled over the plan to pass sweeping […]

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Greek PM keeps lid on party rebellion to pass bailout vote

Anti-austerity demonstrators hold up a giant Greek flag in front of parliament in Athens, July 22, 2015. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras contained a rebellion in his left-wing Syriza party to win parliamentary approval on Thursday for a second package of reforms required to start talks on a financial rescue deal. A first set of reforms that focused largely on tax hikes and budget discipline triggered a rebellion in Syriza last week and passed only thanks to votes from pro-EU opposition parties. The bill that lawmakers voted on early Thursday covered rules for dealing with failed banks and speeding up the justice system – two more conditions set by the euro zone and IMF to open negotiations on an 86 billion euro rescue loan. The legislation easily passed with the backing of 230 votes in the 300-seat chamber, once again due to opposition support. But 36 Syriza deputies – […]

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As Banks in Greece Reopen, New Sales Taxes Add to Confusion

Photo A National Bank employee opens the door of a branch in Athens on Monday morning. Greek banks had been closed for three weeks. Credit Milos Bicanski/Getty Images ATHENS — Greek banks opened their doors on Monday for the first time in three weeks. But with strict limits still in place on the flow of money, the battered economy was far from returning to normal. As Athens scrambles to meet creditors’ demands in exchange for continuing to negotiate a proposed bailout package worth up to 86 billion euros, or about $93 billion, Monday was shaping up as the beginning of what could be a long economic slog. Even though Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany called over the weekend for a swift resumption of the bailout negotiations, the talks could take months. The Athens stock exchange, which stopped trading on June 29, remained closed on Monday, with no word of […]

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Greece submits bill needed to start rescue talks

A frayed Greek national flag flutters among antennas atop a building in central Athens, Greece July 20, 2015. The Greek government submitted legislation to parliament on Tuesday required by its international lenders to start talks on a multi-billion euro rescue package. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has until Wednesday night to get those measures adopted in the assembly. A first set of reforms triggered a rebellion in his party last week and passed only thanks to votes from pro-EU opposition parties. The second bill, though less divisive, will still be a test his weakened majority. It puts into Greek law new European Union rules on propping up failed banks, decreed after the 2008 financial crisis and aimed at shielding taxpayers from the risk of having to bail out troubled lenders. The so-called bank recovery and resolution directive (BRRD) imposes losses on shareholders and creditors of ailing lenders, in a process […]

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Greek banks reopen as Tsipras eyes return to normal

A National Bank official opens the door of a bank branch while people wait to enter in Athens, Greece July 20, 2015. Greeks queued outside banks on Monday as they reopened three weeks after closing to stop the system collapsing, the first cautious sign of a return to normal after a deal to start talks on a new package of bailout reforms. However limits on withdrawals will remain and payments and wire transfers abroad will still not be possible – a situation which German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday was "not a normal life" and warranted swift negotiations on a new bailout, expected to be worth up to 86 billion euros. The stock market will also remain closed until further notice. Increases in value added tax agreed under the bailout terms have also taken effect with VAT on food and public transport jumping to 23 percent from 13 […]

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German Parliament Approves Deal for Greek Bailout Talks

Photo Chancellor Angela Merkel and her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, on Friday. Both urged the German Parliament to back the Greek bailout. Credit Tobias Schwarz/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images BERLIN — German lawmakers on Friday approved entering into detailed negotiations for a Greek bailout amid a simmering international debate over providing more debt relief to Athens and intensifying questions about whether Greece would be better off leaving the European common currency. With resistance to providing more help to Greece growing among conservatives, 439 lawmakers voted in favor of moving ahead with the bailout deal European leaders negotiated last weekend in Brussels. There were 119 votes against, and 40 legislators abstained. Chancellor Angela Merkel and her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, had urged Parliament to back the bailout, which both called “a last attempt” to order Greece’s finances and build a functioning state. It would be Greece’s third bailout in five […]

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Greece Might Be Better Off Outside Eurozone, German Finance Minister Says

Photo Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, said on Thursday that a temporary Greek exit from the eurozone could give Greece the flexibility it needs to reduce its debt load. Credit Ralph Orlowski/Reuters BERLIN — Despite bitter opposition in many quarters to the austerity-first policies Germany has imposed on Europe’s poorer nations, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has hung on to its role as champion of integration on the Continent through deft use of diplomacy and the country’s economic clout. But in negotiating a new deal this week to bail out Greece , Germany displayed what many Europeans saw as a harder, more selfish edge, demanding painful measures from Athens and resisting any firm commitment to granting Greece relief from its crippling debt. And that perception was fueled on Thursday when the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, suggested that Greece would get its best shot at a substantial cut in its […]

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Greece licks wounds after bailout vote, ECB move expected

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reacts during a parliamentary session in Athens, Greece July 16, 2015. Greece awoke with a political hangover on Thursday after parliament approved a stringent bailout program, thanks to the votes of the pro-European opposition, amid the worst protest violence this year. The vote, vital to unlocking emergency financing from European partners as early as Thursday, left Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras weakened by a revolt in his leftist Syriza party but clinging to power for now. The European Central Bank’s governing council, meeting in Frankfurt, was expected to ease its funding squeeze on shuttered Greek banks, the first step toward permitting them to reopen after nearly three weeks’ closure while cash rationing and other capital restrictions will remain in place. European finance ministers were to hold a conference call on Thursday morning to agree on a plan for 7 billion euros in bridging funds to […]

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Greece licks wounds after bailout vote, ECB move expected

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reacts during a parliamentary session in Athens, Greece July 16, 2015. Greece awoke with a political hangover on Thursday after parliament approved a stringent bailout program, thanks to the votes of the pro-European opposition, amid the worst protest violence this year. The vote, vital to unlocking emergency financing from European partners as early as Thursday, left Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras weakened by a revolt in his leftist Syriza party but clinging to power for now. The European Central Bank’s governing council, meeting in Frankfurt, was expected to ease its funding squeeze on shuttered Greek banks, the first step toward permitting them to reopen after nearly three weeks’ closure while cash rationing and other capital restrictions will remain in place. European finance ministers were to hold a conference call on Thursday morning to agree on a plan for 7 billion euros in bridging funds to […]

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I.M.F. Report Shines Uncomfortable Light on Greece’s Financing Gap

FRANKFURT — The International Monetary Fund said what everyone knew but would not admit when it laid out in gory detail late Tuesday how Greece could be crushed by its staggering debt unless creditors agreed to lighten the load. The I.M.F. was not saying anything different from what it and its chief, Christine Lagarde, had quietly told eurozone leaders last weekend. But by going public with its warnings, the fund was putting the world on notice: Without some relief that might enable Greece to grow its way out of debt, the I.M.F. is unwilling to continue throwing good money after bad. The question in the next couple of days will be whether that frank appraisal helps or hinders attempts to keep Greece in the eurozone. The I.M.F. report on Greece’s debt said the country had a financial shortfall of 85 billion euros, or $93 billion, and predicted that within […]

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Greece, Its Back to the Wall, Adopts Austerity Steps

ATHENS — Under threat from the nation’s creditors to move quickly or lose any chance of obtaining a desperately needed new bailout package, Greece ’s Parliament approved painful new austerity measures early Thursday, virtually guaranteeing that life would get harder for millions of Greeks. With banks closed and the economy on the verge of collapse, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had urged the adoption of the measures, saying that while it was a difficult deal the creditors were offering, it was the only one available and would avert a humanitarian and fiscal disaster. The measures passed easily, with a vote of 229 to 64, with six abstentions. Yet much of the support came from opposition parties. Thirty-two members of Mr. Tsipras’s own Syriza party voted no, including three of his ministers, throwing the stability of his left-wing coalition government into question. Mr. Tsipras, who unexpectedly took the floor before the […]

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IMF Warns Eurozone That Greece Needs Far More Debt Relief

WASHINGTON—The International Monetary Fund questioned the ability of Greece to deliver on promised bailout overhauls and warned in its starkest language yet that the eurozone must commit to debt restructuring to ensure the program will work. The IMF’s warning—made in a three-page paper circulated to eurozone officials over the weekend and published more broadly Tuesday—is a reality check for Europe and Greece about the political and economic commitments needed from both sides. “The dramatic deterioration in debt sustainability points to the need for debt relief on a scale that would need to go well beyond what has been under consideration to date—and what has been proposed by” eurozone authorities, the IMF said in its latest assessment of Greece’s economy. The IMF’s dour debt assessment is a clear warning that the fragile bailout accord hasn’t removed the risk of a Greek exit from the eurozone and that the IMF needs […]

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Premier of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, Accepts Creditors’ Austerity Deal

Photo Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece after reaching an agreement with European leaders in Brussels on Monday. Credit Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Associated Press ATHENS — Forced by his nation’s creditors into broad new concessions to avert financial collapse, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece returned home on Monday with just days to sell the deal to fractured lawmakers and a dazed electorate. The agreement he struck with other European leaders early Monday after a contentious all-night bargaining session would give Greece the chance to receive its third international bailout in five years, a package of as much as 86 billion euros, or $96 billion, as well as easier repayment terms on some of its existing debt of more than €300 billion and a short-term economic stimulus plan. But it would require Greece to swallow a wide array of measures, including pension cuts and tax increases, and effectively subject itself […]

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Greece debt crisis: Tsipras faces eurozone deal battle

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is facing a tough battle to win support from coalition partners for the third bailout offered by eurozone leaders. Four pieces of legislation must be passed by the end of Wednesday including pension and VAT reforms. But Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, a junior coalition partner, has already said he will not support the measures. If the deal fails, Greece’s banks face collapse and the country could then be forced to leave the euro. The bailout is conditional on Greece passing all the agreed reforms – including raising tax revenue and liberalising the labour market – in parliament by Wednesday. Finance ministers from all 28 EU countries are holding a scheduled meeting in Brussels on Tuesday morning, where they will discuss the situation in Greece. Defence Minister Panos Kammenos likened the situation to a ‘coup’ by foreign leaders There were demonstrations at the Greek Parliament […]

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Russia extends energy hand to Greece

Russian government said its ready to do its part to support Greek economic recovery through a role in the nation’s energy sector. File Photo by Dimitris Michalakis/UPI MOSCOW, July 13 (UPI) — The Kremlin will do its part in the Greek economic recovery by working to support the country’s energy sector, Russia’s energy minister said. European finance ministers ended 17 hours of negotiations Monday that set the stage for a $39 billion support mechanism for Greece, nearly two weeks after it defaulted on its $1.73 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. Hours before the deal was secured, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the Kremlin was ready to lend a hand in the Greek energy sector. "In connection with this we study options for direct supplies of energy resources for the Greek government, and they may begin shortly," he said. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met in April […]

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European Leaders Reach Agreement to Resolve Greek Debt Crisis

Photo Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece after reaching an agreement with European leaders in Brussels on Monday. Credit Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Associated Press BRUSSELS — European leaders said Monday morning that they had reached a deal meant to resolve Greece ’s debt crisis and avert a historic fracture in the Continent’s common currency project. “EuroSummit has unanimously reached agreement,” Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, wrote on his Twitter account shortly before 9 a.m. on Monday. The new bailout for Greece would involve “serious reforms” and “financial support,” he wrote. The deal announced early Monday allows only the start of detailed negotiations on a new assistance package for Greece. But the prospect of a new bailout program was expected to give the European Central Bank the leeway to continue channeling sorely needed emergency funding to Greek banks hollowed out by a long economic slump and the withdrawal […]

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Eurozone Leaders Reach Unanimous Agreement on Greece

BRUSSELS—Eurozone leaders said early Monday that they would give Greece another three-year bailout involving some €80 billion ($89 billion) in rescue loans, provided the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras manages to implement a round of punishing austerity measures in the coming days. “EuroSummit has unanimously reached agreement” Donald Tusk, who presided over the talks with leaders, said in a tweet . “All ready to go for ESM [European Stability Mechanism] program for Greece with serious reforms & financial support.” European stocks rallied early Monday on the news. In early trade, the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 1.2%, building on Friday’s hefty gains . Germany’s DAX rose 1.3%, France’s CAC-40 added 1.5% and London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.6%. The euro hit an intraday high of $1.1197 against the dollar before falling 0.4% on the day. The tentative rescue deal—hammered out after 22 hours of, at times acrimonious, negotiations between the […]

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Greek parliament backs government bailout proposals

The Greek parliament voted overwhelmingly on Saturday in favor of authorizing the left-wing government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to negotiate with international creditors on the basis of a reform program unveiled this week. A number of leftist members of the ruling Syriza party, including the speaker of parliament, Zoe Constantopoulou and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis called "present" – in effect abstaining from the vote in a sign of their opposition to the mix of tax hikes and spending cuts it included. However despite the dissidents, there was never any danger to the package, which was backed by pro-European opposition parties. A total of 251 voted ‘Yes’, 32 voted ‘No’ and 8 ‘Present’, while 9 deputies were absent. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Renee Maltezou; writing by James Mackenzie ; editing by Costas Pitas )

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Greece Struggles to Rally Support for Its Proposals

Photo Euclid Tsakalotos, the Greek finance minister, on Friday at a meeting of the Syriza party, which was said to be tense because of serious objections among legislators over the additional austerity measures that are laid out in the proposals. Credit Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters BRUSSELS — Just hours after abandoning its anti-austerity position and accepting tough terms to try and secure another bailout, Greece ’s governing party struggled on Friday to rally domestic support for its abrupt reversal while influential voices in Germany and Eastern Europe expressed skepticism about whether Greece would really follow through on pledges to be more fiscally responsible. With a Sunday deadline looming for a decision on whether to cut Greece adrift, a crunch point that all sides see as Greece’s last chance to avoid bankruptcy and stay in the euro, the chances of a deal seemed to hang less on the precise details of Greece’s […]

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In Athens, Greeks Wonder Whether Tsipras Folded or Restored Dignity

Photo Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece, seated, was applauded by members of his governing Syriza Party at the Parliament building in Athens on Friday. Credit Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters ATHENS — Did Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras betray his principles and cave in to Greece ’s creditors? Or did he fight valiantly and succeed in establishing that his nation’s debt load is not sustainable and has to be reduced? Those were the questions being asked across Greece on Friday in the wake of Mr. Tsipras’s abrupt decision to give the creditors nearly all of what they have sought throughout the long and contentious negotiations over keeping Greece afloat. From the halls of Parliament to streets filled with people who have suffered through five years of severe economic hardship, Greeks were struggling to process the news, gird themselves for further budget cuts and assess what they had gotten for their efforts to […]

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Greece Needs $83 Billion in Fresh Funding

BRUSSELS—Greece will need €74 billion ($82.55 billion) in fresh funding, the three institutions overseeing the eurozone bailout program said in their assessment of the country’s request for a new aid package, according to three European officials. The €74 billion could include €16 billion from the International Monetary Fund, should the Washington-based institution decide to participate in the new aid program, the officials said. A fourth official said some funding could come from Greece raising money on debt markets. Two officials said the institutions—which, along with the IMF, include the European Commission and the European Central Bank— found Greece’s proposals for new overhauls and budget cuts to be a basis for negotiating a new bailout “under certain conditions.” The development indicates some of the struggles that could lie ahead this weekend, when eurozone finance ministers and leaders meet to decide on how much money they are willing to commit to […]

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Greek Debt Crisis 2015

Pro-Euro protesters gather in front of the parliament during a rally in Athens. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann LATEST: France says Greek proposals "serious and credible" Following is the latest news on Greece’s debt crisis after euro zone leaders set Athens a deadline of the end of the week to come up with convincing reform proposals. All times are in GMT. 0852 – Eurogroup chief Jeroen Djisselbloem says a "major decision" on Greece could be made at the planned meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Saturday. 0817 – French President Francois Hollande says negotiations between Greece and its international creditors must resume with the aim of reaching a deal after the country came up with "serious and credible" proposals. 0801 – French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron says he is reasonably optimistic that Greece will reach an aid-for-reforms deal with its creditors. 0746 – France’s European affairs minister says the latest proposals […]

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Greek Plan Accepts Austerity to Get Debt Relief

Photo Pensioners wait outside of a National Bank of Greece branch in Athens on Thursday. Credit Yannis Kolesidis/European Pressphoto Agency ATHENS — Only a day after grim predictions of financial and social collapse in Greece , a scramble appeared underway to work out the details of a new bailout package to bring the country back from the brink of falling out of the euro. As details of the new offer emerged, it appeared that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was capitulating to demands on harsh austerity terms that he urged his countrymen to reject in the referendum last Sunday, like tax increases and various measures to cut the costs of pensions. But Mr. Tsipras sought a three-year bailout loan totaling 53.5 billion euros (about $59 billion) and asked creditors to commit to discussing restructuring the nation’s massive debt. The amount was more than it would have been without a nationwide […]

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Greek Bailout Assessment Could Come Friday, Official Says

A vendor waits for customers outside his shop in central Athens on Friday. BRUSSELS—Greece’s creditor institutions could make an assessment on the country’s eligibility for new bailout on Friday, a eurozone official said, as a deadline to avoid a possible Greek financial meltdown draws near. The institutions that have been overseeing Greece’s bailouts—the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund—may come out Friday with their assessment of Greece’s request for help from the eurozone’s rescue fund, said a spokesman for the chairman of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers. That assessment will also take into account the latest overhaul proposals from Greece, the spokesman added. The institutions’ assessment still needs to be discussed and approved by eurozone finance ministers, who may push for tougher criteria to avoid having to take aggressive action of reducing Greece’s debt. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who presides over meetings of eurozone finance […]

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EU’s Tusk urges debt relief as part of Greek deal

The European Union’s chairman joined growing international calls for Greece to be granted debt restructuring as part of any new loan deal if it delivers convincing reforms to avert imminent bankruptcy. The call was an implicit challenge to Germany, Athens’ biggest creditor, which has so far ruled out any write-offs as illegal and taken a restrictive view of reprofiling the debt to help Greece over a major repayment hump this year. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was finalizing a tough package of tax hikes and pension reforms to send to euro zone authorities by midnight in a race to secure agreement at the weekend on a third financial rescue for his country. European Council President Donald Tusk, who is to chair a special euro group summit on Sunday that will decide Greece’s fate, hoped the plans would be concrete and realistic. "The realistic proposal from Greece will have to […]

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Euro zone gives Greece until Sunday for debt deal

BRUSSELS Euro zone members have given Greece until the end of the week to come up with a proposal for sweeping reforms in return for loans that will keep the country from crashing out of Europe’s currency bloc and into economic ruin. "The stark reality is that we have only five days left … Until now I have avoided talking about deadlines, but tonight I have to say loud and clear that the final deadline ends this week," European Council President Donald Tusk told a news conference. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has until Friday to present the proposal, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hoped to have convincing reform commitments from Tsipras on Thursday so she could ask the German parliament to authorize negotiations on a new aid program. Merkel said she was "not exaggeratedly optimistic" for a solution. At an emergency summit in Brussels on Tuesday, representatives […]

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Greece Requests Three-Year Bailout in First Step Toward Meeting Creditors’ Demand

BRUSSELS—Greece took a first step toward addressing demands that eurozone leaders say it must meet to stay in the euro, as pressure grew on both sides to reach a deal and avert the country’s imminent financial meltdown. The government in Athens formally asked for a three-year bailout from the eurozone’s rescue fund on Wednesday and pledged to start implementing some economic-policy overhauls by early next week, according to a copy of the request seen by The Wall Street Journal. But whether European leaders accept the application for more emergency loans at a crisis summit on Sunday still depends on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras making a drastic turnaround on pension cuts, tax increases and other austerity measures after five months of often-acrimonious negotiations. Eurozone officials expect the request for more aid to be followed up by a full list of detailed policy overhauls and budget cuts that go beyond those […]

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Fear Grows in Greece as Decisive Hour Nears

People in Athens line up on Wednesday to withdraw money from an ATM cash dispenser. Greece requested a new three-year bailout from its skeptical eurozone creditors and pledged some economic overhauls on Wednesday, but the euphoria some Greeks felt after Sunday’s “no” vote on the last deal was fading fast. Whether European leaders accept the Greek government’s application for more emergency loans at a crisis summit Sunday still depends on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras making a drastic turnaround on pension cuts, tax increases and other austerity measures after five months of often-acrimonious negotiations. “The actual examination can only begin once the full package has been put on the table,” said a spokesman for German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who has pushed a hard line on Greece and made clear that Germany is prepared for a potential Greek exit from the eurozone. His comments echo those of German Chancellor Angela […]

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Greece Requests a 3-Year Loan but Is Vague on Its Financial Plans

ATHENS — Greece , running out of money and under a tight deadline from European leaders, requested a three-year loan on Wednesday from the eurozone’s bailout fund as the country and its creditors began what could be a last effort to avert a historic rupture. But in making a formal request for new aid that it needs to avoid further defaults on its debts, Greece did not provide any details of what it would do in return to show that it is serious about strengthening the government’s finances, other than alluding generally to a willingness to make quick changes to its tax and pension systems. The government said it would provide those specifics on Thursday. Nor did it publicly describe the size of the loan it sought. Some economists estimate that Greece will need 50 billion euros (about $55 billion), or possibly more. Eurozone leaders rebuked the Greek prime […]

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Greece debt crisis: Eurozone sets deadline for new plan

Greek banks remain shut, with controls on cash machine withdrawals The eurozone has given Greece until Thursday to present new proposals to secure a deal with creditors, and has called a full EU summit for Sunday. The moves came after an emergency eurozone leaders’ summit in Brussels. The eurozone had asked Greece to submit fresh plans after its voters rejected a draft bailout in a referendum. But Greece brought no written plans, suggesting instead a few changes to an earlier draft, which would respect "the mandate of the referendum". On Sunday a meeting of all 28 members of the European Union will be held. European Council President Donald Tusk said that this was perhaps the "most critical moment in the history of the eurozone". "The final deadline ends this week," he said. Mr Tusk said a Greek bankruptcy and the collapse of the Greek banking system would affect the […]

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Greece Delays Offering New Plan on Debt

Photo Greeks caught up with the news in Athens on Tuesday, ahead of an emergency summit meeting of European leaders. Credit Aris Messinis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images BRUSSELS — Greece’s prospects for staying in Europe’s currency union darkened on Tuesday after the new Greek finance minister showed up for an emergency meeting in Brussels without a specific new proposal, leaving European finance ministers aghast and unable to judge whether a deal for another bailout package was possible. Greece’s failure to present a detailed plan turned what had been billed as a last-chance opportunity for Greece into yet another display of the substantive and stylistic gulf between the left-wing government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his country’s big creditors, starting with Germany. The new finance minister, Euclid Tsakalotos , signaled that Greece would put a plan forward as soon as Tuesday night, and a government official said later that […]

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In Greece, ATM Lines, Bank Transfer Limits Enter Second Week

ATHENS—Many Greeks went to bed Sunday night jubilant after the runaway success of a referendum urging the government to push back in negotiations with its eurozone creditors. On Monday, they woke up to the start of a second week of restrictions on money transfers and lines outside ATMs. The capital controls, which limit withdrawals to €60 ($66) a day and forbid electronic transfers outside of Greece, are fast choking the economy. The head of the country’s banking association said banks would remain closed through Wednesday; few expect them to open soon after that. The European Central Bank tightened the screws Monday, demanding that Greek banks put up more assets as collateral to secure the emergency lending that is keeping them alive, if not fully functioning. The move doesn’t directly affect the amount of emergency loans they receive. It is unclear when they might run out of cash. There are […]

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Germany Stays Tough on Debt Relief for Greece

Germany stood firm against debt relief for Greece the day after the country’s voters issued a resounding “no” to more austerity, signaling a tough fight ahead on one of the few opportunities for compromise on any potential bailout for Athens. About 61% of Greek voters cast their referendum ballots on Sunday in support of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s stance against the pension cuts and tax increases that Greece’s creditors—the rest of the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund— say are necessary to get Greece’s economy going again. That leaves cutting debt as a possible make-or-break element of any deal to keep Europe’s currency union intact. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande, whose country has emerged as one of the few friendly voices for Greece in the eurozone, made no mention of the debt issue at a joint news conference in Paris. But opposing comments from their […]

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With ‘No’ Greek Vote, Tsipras Wins a Victory That Could Carry a Steep Price

Photo Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece addressed the nation on Sunday amid a referendum on the European bailout. Credit Pool photo by Reuters ATHENS — Now comes the hard part. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras may have won a victory at home on Sunday as the Greek people dealt a resounding “no” to European austerity policies. But Greece risks paying a high price for that decision. While the vote sharply consolidated Mr. Tsipras’s popularity, that could fade quickly if he leads the country deeper into bankruptcy and financial chaos, creating a new round of instability with consequences for Greece and the broader European project. If anything, Mr. Tsipras is likely to find it harder, rather than easier, to strike a new financing deal quickly with European creditors, heightening the risk that Greece will careen out of the eurozone unless Europe decides to give Mr. Tsipras and his defiant nation […]

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