Eurozone ministers reach 'breakthrough' £7.8bn bailout deal for Greece

Eurozone finance ministers have agreed a "breakthrough" deal to unlock €10.3 billion (£7.8 billion) in bailout money for Greece.

After an 11-hour meeting in Brussels, officials extended further bailout loans after the International Monetary Fund made a significant climbdown in its demand for upfront debt relief for Greece.

The funds will help ease the burden of Greece's €321 billion debt, which is worth 180% of annual economic output.

Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem told reporters: "We achieved a major breakthrough on Greece which enables us to enter a new phase in the Greek financial assistance programme."

(L-R) Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble chats with Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Luxembourg's Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna. Credit: Reuters

He said debt measures would be phased in "progressively".

Greece's finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos said he saw "some ground for optimism" to turn Greece's fortunes around and attract investment.

The Greek parliament passed new budget cuts and tax rises at the weekend in a bid to unblock aid to help meet the country's debt repayments over the coming months.

The bill also created a state privatisation fund requested by eurozone finance ministers.