Euro leaders set to decide on Greek lifeline
European leaders have agreed to help bailout Greece from financial meltdown.
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2011 20:02
Papandreou has called Thursday's summit in Brussels 'a make-or-break moment for where Europe is going' [EPA]

Eurozone leaders have agreed to reach an agreement at an emergency summit to resolve the Greek debt crisis.

On the agenda was the idea of emergency loans for Greece and the overhaul of the eurozone's bailout fund in an attempt to stop the debt crisis from engulfing larger countries like Spain or Italy. 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said  eurozone leaders were "determined" to strike a deal to save Greece from bankruptcy, at the close of an emergency summit to avert a European debt crisis.

"We have decided to support Greece as a member of the euro and the eurozone. It is a determined commitment," Sarkozy told reporters as leaders emerged from the summit. "All the euro countries have decided to be at its side."

What has been agreed is that Private lenders will provide 135  billion euros ($194 billion) over 30 years to Greece, "In total, their effort will be 135 billion euros over 30 years," said Sarkozy.

According to the draft,  the eurozone is ready to extend the average maturities for Greece's official loans to 15 years, at an interest rate of 3.5 per cent.

The draft also foresees new powers for the bailout fund, such as precautionary credit lines and the right to buy bonds on the open market.

The new bailout, would supplement the 110bn euro ($156bn) rescue plan for Greece launched in May last year.

France and Germany will make proposals in the coming weeks to overhaul economic governance in the eurozone in the wake of the Greek debt crisis.

"Our ambition is to seize the Greek crisis to make a quantum leap in eurozone governance," said Sarkozy, adding that the proposals would be made before the end of the summer.

Stock markets hopeful

Global stock markets at the start of business rose on reports that a provisional deal could be reached in the Belgian capital to tackle the eurozone debt crisis.

The Milan stock exchange rose by four per cent while the Spanish market gained three per cent. US shares also opened sharply higher.

The Brussels summit comes hours after Germany and France, the eurozone's two largest economies, reached a common position on the second bailout for Greece.

The accord came after seven hours of talks late into Wednesday night between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Berlin.

Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank, joined Merkel and Sarkozy for part of the talks.

Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, told Al Jazeera that a deal would be made before the meeting.

"It is absolutely clear that the euro is our destiny and our desire. I think we will have a good result," Westerwelle said.

Alain Juppe, the French foreign minister, also said he was "sure we will find an accord", adding that contrary to media reports "there is a very broad convergence of views" among eurozone capitals.

Al Jazeera and agencies
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