Tentative deal over Greek aid expected today

Julian Harris
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FINANCE ministers from Eurozone states are expected to finally reach an agreement over the next tranche of bailout cash to Greece today, despite recent disagreements between international lenders.

The Eurogroup of finance chiefs will meet in Brussels for its latest attempt to wave through a deal.

Yet the payment of an estimated €44bn (£35bn) in emergency loans to Greece is likely to be conditional on Greek politicians demonstrating the government is fully committed to agreed reforms called “prior actions.”

Greece yesterday approved laws to enforce budget targets and ensure privatisation proceeds are used to pay off debt, as it seeks to appease its bailout providers.

The government used decrees to force through the measures, but faced protests from government workers, many of whom could lose their jobs due to the reforms.

The Greek coalition government appears to have done enough, however, to convince the Eurogroup to pass a “political endorsement in principle” over releasing new funds, sources told Reuters.

Following any agreement, the proposals – along with a plan for how Greek debt could be made sustainable – will be sent to national governments for approval, with Brussels hoping the measures could be passed by the end of the month.

If all conditions are met and agreed by 3 December, the Eurogroup will meet in Athens and sign off the funds to be transferred that week.

Yet the process still faces stumbling blocks, according to researchers at Daiwa Capital Markets. “With Germany continuing to resist a second restructuring of Greece’s remaining outstanding debt, any agreement... is likely to result in only cosmetic changes to the country’s debt burden, with an inevitable second restructuring possibly postponed only until after the German elections next year,” Daiwa said in a note.