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Eurogroup Scrambles to Decrease Greece's Debt Burden

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Greece - Sputnik International
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The council of finance ministers of the eurozone (the so-called Eurogroup) coordinated on Monday a number of short-term measures, which will have a significant positive impact on the sustainability of the Greek debt, the Eurogroup said in a statement.

BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — On Monday, the Eurogroup discussed again the sustainability of Greek public debt with the objective to regain market access.

"In this context, the Eurogroup endorsed today the full set of short-term measures on the basis of proposals by the ESM [European Stability Mechanism] and preparatory work by the EWG [Eurogroup Working Group], which will be implemented by the ESM following this meeting," the statement reads.

Earlier in the day, Eurozone finance ministers held a meeting in Brussels to discuss budgetary situation and consider debt-related measures for Greece depending on the results of the second review of the economic adjustment program for the country.

"The Eurogroup welcomes the progress that has been made in reaching full staff-level agreement between Greece and the institutions in the context of the second review of the ESM programme," the statement said.

The implementation of these measures may start despite the ongoing second review of the economic adjustment program for the country, according to the statement.

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Greece's international creditors signed an agreement with Athens last summer, approving a third bailout package worth about 86 billion euros ($97.3 billion) in exchange for austerity reforms, including pension cuts and tax hikes. The country's government led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pushed ahead with the reforms, and the prime minister has previously stated that he expected the country's GDP to return to growth by 2017.

In October, eurozone finance ministers unlocked a $1.2 billion installment of the bailout after the completion of the first review of Greek reforms. Another $3 billion were unlocked in late October.

The ESM is an international financial institution set up in 2012 to provide financial assistance to the eurozone.

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