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German parliament approves Greece bailout extension

The German parliament has approved a deal to extend Greece's financial bailout by four months.

A total of 542 MPs within the 631-seat chamber voted in favour of approving the extension.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party has overwhelmingly backed the extension of Greece's bailout despite dissension from within their ranks and in the German press. Credit: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

The approval came after Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble - a sceptic of Athens - promised Greece would not be allowed to "blackmail" its European partners.

The vote in the Bundestag was the only major hurdle for the four-month exension for the most heavily indebted country in the euro zone.

Greece hopes to start reform plans 'immediately'

Greece hopes that it will be able to start discussions with its EU and International Monetary Fund partners on filling the state's funding gap straight away, a finance ministry official has said.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official said:

The discussions on Greece's funding gap will begin tonight, tomorrow morning.

– Greek finance ministry official

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Lagarde: Greek reform plans need to be 'specific'

Greece's reform plan is sufficient for the Eurozone to continue to give the country aid, but is lacking finer details, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has said.

In a letter to Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Ms Lagarde said that the Greek plan was comprehensive in some areas but "not very specific."

In quite a few areas, however, including perhaps the most important ones, the letter is not conveying clear assurances that the government intends to undertake the reforms envisage.

– Christine Lagarde

Among other areas of concern, she cited pensions and value-added tax policy as well as labor market reforms.

Eurozone ministers agree to Greek bailout extension

Euro zone finance ministers have agreed that a Greek request for a bailout extension could now go ahead, subject to approval by member state parliaments.

The European Commission vice president for the euro said on Twitter that the ministers had agreed to the extension via a telephone conference.

Greek finance minister: We are writing our own reforms

Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said he was pleased with the agreement reached with Eurozone ministers. He said he believes the interest of "the average European above all else" has been served, and that the commitments his country has made are ones his government "wanted to make anyway".

He said: "The weekend will be one of joy and creativity. We are writing our own reforms, with our partners."

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Lagarde: IMF is pleased work can now begin

IMF Chief Christine Lagarde has welcomed the deal reached between the Greek authorities and the Eurozone finance ministers.

Speaking in Brussels she said the negotiations have been labourious but constructive, and have resulted in a "timeline" for the necessary changes that need to be made. She said the IMF is pleased that work can now begin.

Greek finance minister: 'We used logic and ideology to reach deal'

Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said Greece "combined logic and ideology in the way we negotiated" to reach the bailout deal.

ITV News Economics Editor Richard Edgar reports:

Eurogroup deal 'pretty heavy defeat for Greece'

The four month reprieve won by Greece tonight from its Eurogroup paymasters appears to be a heavy defeat for the country, ITV News Europe Editor James Mates has tweeted.

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