Finance ministers rush to pass Greek bailout deal

 
Chris Papadopoullos
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Greece needs to finalise the deal before a debt repayment is due on 20 August
EUROZONE finance ministers will gather in Brussels tomorrow to sign off a new bailout package for Greece, but German officials are sceptical, according to reports in the country.

Greece hopes to receive some funding as part of the deal in time for a €3.5bn (£2.5bn) payment to the European Central Bank on 20 August. But even if finance ministers agree to the deal, it still requires approval by several Eurozone parliaments. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras submitted the deal to parliament yesterday. While it is expected to divide his Syriza party, the opposition is widely expected to support the agreement.

“Despite the obstacles that some are trying to put into our path, I’m optimistic we will get to an agreement, loan support from the European mechanism, which will put a final end to economic uncertainty,” Tsipras said during a visit to the Greek infrastructure ministry in Athens.

Funding could come in the form of a slice of the €85bn bailout package or a bridging loan.

“Bridge financing is not off the table,” German finance ministry spokesman Juerg Weissgerber said yesterday. “We’re still taking bridge financing into consideration if it’s not possible to pay out a first tranche in August to meet the outstanding obligations.”

Yet the deal may be scuppered by German politicians. Senior German officials are concerned about open questions regarding the International Monetary Fund’s participation and privatisations, Bild newspaper reported, citing unnamed European officials and a finance ministry analysis.

In a statement, the finance ministry said it had formulated questions regarding the bailout plan as “part of the examination process”. It plans to discuss the questions at tomorrow’s meeting of finance ministers.

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