Eurogroup agrees Greece loan extension

Emma Haslett
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Today's Eurogroup meeting may be the final opportunity for Greece to have its loan extension approved (Source: Getty)

After a week of tense negotiations, Greece and its Eurozone partners have agreed a deal to end its €172bn loan standoff.

The Eurogroup of finance ministers entered into last minute negotiations this afternoon.

The new deal, which provides Greece with a four month extension on its loans, does not include an explanation of the conditions Athens must comply with in order to receive the additional cash. These will be supplied by Greece on Monday.

Earlier today the euro reversed some of its losses against the dollar, rising to 1.1361 against the dollar, having dropped as low as 1.1285 earlier in the day, as negotiations between the Eurogroup of finance ministers continued.

Before the meeting, Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said the country was asking its Eurozone partners to "meet us not half of the way - but one fifth of the way" on reaching an agreement over extending its loan agreement.

In a press conference, Varoufakis said it had gone "not an extra mile, but an extra 10 miles", adding that "I most certainly hope that there is going to be an agreement, and I trust that we are going to have one".

However, at the same event German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was rather less optimistic.

"There is nothing new to say," he said. "We will see what will happen today."

The comments came shortly after European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker told a German magazine that a "Greek exit [from the euro] won't happen".

Juncker said in an interview with German magazine Wirtschafts Woche that he views Greece as a member of the "Euro family".

However, earlier in the afternoon the euro plunged as low as 1.296 against the dollar, after another German magazine, Spiegel, suggested officials at the European Central Bank were preparing for a Grexit.
This evening's deal means Greece could find itself back in the same position in June, when a €3.5bn payment comes due.
Yesterday Schaeuble called Greece's request for a six-month extension to its bailout loan a "Trojan horse", although at a separate press conference today German Chancellor Angela Merkel dismissed questions over the comment, saying she was "not in the mood to talk about Greek mythology".
Alexis Tsipras, Greece's new prime minister, added that he was optimistic Greece's new proposals would meet with approval.

I feel certain that the Greek letter for a six-month extension of the loan agreement with the conditionalities that accompany it will be accepted.

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