Greek debt activist who urged tax disobedience is jailed

Greece austerity

The finance ministers of the 19 European Union countries reached the compromise after a day of marathon talks in Luxembourg early on June 22.

The ministers needed to finalize a deal between Greece and its worldwide creditors that would allow it to safely emerge from its third and final bailout program on August 20 and face the markets again.

"We believe that the adoption of the set of debt measures agreed by the Eurogroup (of eurozone finance ministers) will improve debt sustainability in the medium term", Mario Draghi said in a written statement.

"The Greek government is happy with the agreement", Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said after the talks. The extension will be accompanied by a 10-year grace period in interest and amortization payments on the same loans.

Over those years, Greece twice got perilously close to being kicked out of the eurogroup, EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said.

"Now we should all, we and our partners, acknowledge that what was achieved was thanks to the sacrifices of Greek people", Pavlopoulos said on his part.

Also calling for deeper debt relief is the International Monetary Fund, whose tough-talking head Christine Lagarde will attend the talks.

The repayment of 96 billion euros will be pushed back by ten years to allow the country to get back on its feet after the bailout programme ends in August this year.

Still, Mr Moscovici said, "at last after eight years of hard reforms, of tough adjustments in our programs, Greece will be capable of moving on its own two feet".

Finance Ministers from the 19 countries that use the single currency are seeking to agree on debt relief and a sizeable cash cushion for Greece that will reassure financial markets on the ability of Athens to stand on its own.

The IMF also welcomed the debt agreement, saying it makes Greece's debt sustainable in the medium term and facilitates Greece's access to the markets. The profits came from a range of deals - including the Securities Market Program (SMP), a now-defunct bond-buying program initiated by the European Central Bank in 2010 that Germany and other members of the eurozone backed to keep Greece's economy afloat, according to German Press Agency (DPA).

Mr Tsakalotos said the deal will allow Greece to tap markets "very soon" at manageable interest rates, although the precise timing is still unclear.

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