Eurozone And IMF Reach Greece Debt Deal

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Eurozone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund have reached an agreement on Greek debt, which paves the way for the release of much-needed loans.

After nearly 10 hours of talks, it was agreed that the country's public debt should fall to 124% of GDP in 2020 through a package of extra debt cutting measures.

The deal emerged in Brussels after a meeting of finance ministers from the 17 eurozone countries, the European Central Bank and the IMF (Other OTC: IMFAF.PK - news) on how to make Greek debt sustainable - their third meeting on the issue in as many weeks.

"It's going very slow, but we have financing and a Debt Sustainability Analysis. We've filled the financing gap until the end of programme in 2014," one official said, adding that talks on the details of the debt cutting measures with the IMF were still ongoing.

The deal is a breakthrough towards releasing the next tranche of loans, totalling 44bn euros (£35bn).

It comes after Greece's aid package was suspended in the summer over concerns it was not meeting the conditions of its bailout programme.

The Greek finance minister Yannis Stournaras said earlier that Athens had fulfilled its part of the deal by enacting tough austerity measures and economic reforms, and it was now up to the lenders to do their part.

The IMF has said Greece's debt as a proportion of GDP must be cut to around 120% by 2020, from a forecast 190% next year, for it to be manageable in the long-term.

It was not immediately clear how the debt would be reduced from its currently forecast level of 144% in 2020 to the target, but it is expected to involve a series of measures including the lowering of interest rate on loans to Greece.

Last week Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras criticised the failure to deliver bailout funds to Athens after 12 hours of emergency talks among the eurozone finance ministers and representatives of the troika of lenders had ended without agreement.