Eurozone Ministers Approve Greek Bailout Deal

Posted February 20th, 2012 at 11:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Eurozone finance ministers have approved a fresh $171-billion (130 billion euros) bailout for Greece, after more than 12 hours of tense negotiations in Brussels.

European officials say the bailout will reduce Greece's government debt from around 160 percent of the country's gross domestic product to just over 120 percent by 2020, meeting a key benchmark target set by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Officials say details of the plan are still being worked out. The euro jumped nearly half a cent Tuesday on news that the deal had been reached.

Debt-ridden Greece desperately needed the bailout package — its second in two years — to avoid a catastrophic debt default next month.

Without the bailout, Greece would not be able to pay investors $19 billion in debt when government bonds come due next month.

Analysts have warned that if Greece had defaulted next month, it could have had catastrophic consequences for the eurozone, and possibly have led to a sharp downturn in the world economy.