Eurozone Finance Ministers Give Go Ahead to Greek Bailout Extension

World » EU | February 24, 2015, Tuesday // 17:15
Bulgaria: Eurozone Finance Ministers Give Go Ahead to Greek Bailout Extension Jeroen Dijsselbloem, President of the Eurogroup, speaks at the start of the European Parliament Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs meeting at the EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, 24 February 2015. Photo EPA/BGNES

Eurozone finance ministers on Tuesday gave the green light to Greece’s reform proposals that will enable extension of the country’s bailout programme, VOA reported.

The finance ministers agreed in a conference call that Athens’ request for an extension of the bailout in exchange for further reforms can now go ahead. The reform plan now needs the approval of parliaments of eurozone member states.

"Following Eurogroup teleconference decision, national procedures for extension of the Greek programme can begin," European Commission Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue Valdis Dombrovskis said on Twitter.

According to a document seen by Reuters Greece has pledged to ensure that any social spending to address a "humanitarian crisis" won’t hurt its budget. The Greek government has also promised that it won’t roll back any ongoing or completed privatisations.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has written to the eurogroup, criticising elements of the Greek government’s reform plans.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Twitter that “while the authorities’ list is comprehensive, it is not very specific, which is perhaps to be expected considered the government is new in office.”

Lagarde said she is encouraged “with what appears to be a stronger resolve” in some areas like combating tax evasion and corruption, but then warned:

“We note in particular that there are neither clear commitments to design and implement the envisaged comprehensive pension and VAT policy reforms nor unequivocal undertakings to continue already-agreed policies for opening up closed sectors, for administrative reforms, for privatisation, and for labour market reforms.”

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