The Eurogroup came to an agreement, of sorts, with Greece on Friday evening, Feb. 20.
In an 18 against 1 negotiation, it was always likely that the 18 (the Eurogroup) were going to come off better than the 1 (Greece).
Greece got enough, but only enough, to stop them from walking out again.
Here's how it breaks down:
- The Eurogroup gets to keep European Union, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund—"the troika"—oversight of the program extension. Greece gets to have everyone not call it the troika anymore.
- The Eurogroup has Greece's agreement on an extension of the existing bailout program. Greece has Eurogroup agreement not to call it a program anymore.
- The Eurogroup gives Greece until Monday to come up with a set of budgetary measures that will allow a successful review of the
programextension. Greece gets to pick its own austerity. (And eventually it may get flexibility on reducing its primary budget surplus.)
- The Eurogroup gets to ringfence the EFSF (European Financial Stability Fund) money in the HFSF (Hellenic Financial Stability Fund) buffer so it is available only for bank recapitalization at the discretion of the ECB. Greece gets to watch this happen.
- The Eurogroup gets to have a quiet weekend. Greece gets to work really hard on a set of measures that the
troikainstitutions must approve by Monday evening.
All this might make it sound like Greece got very little out of the Eurogroup today, and in many ways that seems true. But Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's finance minister, will be able to go back to Greece and say he has got all he could. He allowed the negotiations to get to the 11th hour to maximize his leverage, and he did enough to be able to say he fought Greece's corner hard.
For the moment, that may be enough in a country that has been feeling quite knocked around by its Eurogroup partners.