[QODLink]
Europe
Greece 'wins' vital bailout extensions
Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras finalises agreement with foreign lenders which will give a two-year extension.
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2012 13:09
There has been a series of 24 hour strikes in Greece over the past year as opposition to austerity measures[Reuters]

Greece has secured a long-sought extension to catch up with its fiscal targets, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras has told the parliament.

"We have obtained the extension," Stournaras said on Wednesday, shortly after telling reporters that he had finalised with EU-IMF creditors a new austerity agreement that would be submitted to the Greek coalition government for approval.

Stournaras said the government would tell European counterparts that it is ready to put its latest austerity package to parliament next week after winning additional concessions from foreign lenders.

The government has recently been locked in negotiations with international creditors over $17.56bn package of new austerity measures for the next two years.

One of the conditions of Greece's current $185bn bailout programme is that it reforms the economy so the country can return to the bond markets to raise money by 2014.

Greece has asked for a two-year extension on this deadline so that it has time to introduce austerity measures and labour market reforms.

Follow our comprehensive Euro Crisis spotlight coverage

A swift deal on the package is crucial for Greece's effort to unlock more aid under its latest bailout, with the country just three weeks away from running out of cash.

Smaller party allies of the coalition of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's government, the small Democratic Left party and the PASOK Socialists, have yet to back the austerity package, and will examine the concessions made before deciding their stance.

Both parties have refused to support demands by foreign lenders to cut wages and reduce severance payments, but have
maintained that they do not want to jeopardise the government or Greece's place in the eurozone.

Stournaras said Greece would tell the Euro Working Group meeting on Thursday that it had finalised the package after its 'troika' of lenders - the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and IMF made additional concessions.

The package will be put to parliament next week in two separate bills on austerity cuts and labour reforms.

339

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.