U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne welcomed a euro-area agreement on a second bailout for Greece that he said puts the country’s debt load on a sustainable path.
After 13 1/2 hours of talks in Brussels that ended early today, euro-region finance ministers awarded 130 billion euros ($173 billion) in aid, engineered a central-bank profits transfer and coaxed investors into providing more debt relief in an exchange meant to tide Greece past a March bond repayment.
“Last night’s developments were very encouraging for the whole European economy,” Osborne told reporters today before a meeting of European Union finance chiefs in the Belgian capital. “We have Greece taking some very difficult decisions to face up to its debts as other countries like Britain are having to deal with their debts. We have got the euro zone collectively standing behind their currency, which is something that Britain has urged them to do all along.”
Osborne said the agreement is good for Britain, “because resolving the euro zone crisis is the biggest boon Britain could get for its economy this year.”
The Greeks must now deliver on their promises made to secure the rescue, Osborne said, “but I don’t think Greece has any other option.”
The bailout package signaled the euro area’s willingness to support the single currency and Greece. “Hopefully we can all move on now and get the European economy growing,” he said.
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