Eurozone finance ministers said Thursday they decided to grant in principle a new bailout to Greece after the country’s parliament passed a first round of painful austerity measures, though several top officials expressed deep reservations about whether Athens could see the overhauls through, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The decision by finance ministers is just one more hurdle the deal has to pass before further talks can even start. Several countries—including Germany and the Netherlands—still have to take up the agreement Thursday and Friday in their own parliaments before the final go-ahead for negotiations is given.
“The Eurogroup welcomes the adoption by the Greek Parliament of all the commitments specified in the Euro Summit statement of 12 July,” said a statement by the Eurogroup, as the group of eurozone finance ministers is known. The statement said the ministers reached a decision to grant Greece “in principle” a 3-year bailout from the bloc’s bailout fund, but that this was “subject to the completion of relevant national procedures.”
Creditors asked Athens to pass the first set of measures by Wednesday to get talks started on the deal that foresees Greece implementing tough economic overhauls and budget cuts in exchange for up to €86 billion in fresh loans. The measures were approved by 229 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament.
The result of the vote was seen as a positive step by European officials, who pointed to the strong majority of lawmakers backing the difficult measures.