Greece’s European lenders agreed Thursday to release another $9.5 billion of a desperately needed bailout installment, while holding out the hope of debt relief.
All sides reached a deal in Luxembourg Thursday after months of often bitter negotiations.
The European Union’s top economy official, France’s Pierre Moscovici, said Greece has respected its commitments for economic reforms and that it is now time for its creditors to “take their’s.”
The Greek people need to see the “light at the end of the tunnel of austerity,” Moscovici said.
Greece has implemented more tough spending cuts and tax hikes in exchange for the bailout installment.
Without it, the country would have been facing possible bankruptcy next month.
Greece has been demanding debt relief from its creditors, saying it can never get its economy growing again without some help.
Germany, Greece’s biggest lender, has opposed restructuring the Greek debt, insisting on more austerity.
But as part of the compromise with Greece, eurozone ministers agreed to provide debt relief when the current bailout program ends next year.
Support from IMF
In a surprise move Thursday, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde announced she will recommend that the IMF join the Greek bailout.
The IMF was part of the first two bailouts, but refused to be a part of the third until there was some kind of debt relief.