BRUSSELS (AP) — The latest from Greece’s financial crisis (all times local):
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is welcoming the agreement between Greece and its European creditors as “an important step forward.”
In a statement Monday, Lew said: “The agreement provides a basis for restoring trust among the parties and creates the conditions for a path forward for Greece within the eurozone.”
Keeping Greece among the nations using the euro, Lew said, was in the best interests of Greece, Europe and the global economy.
He noted Greece’s “commitment to make deep and difficult fiscal and structural reforms” and a commitment by its creditors to “create a path for Greece to return to growth” and make Greece’s debt burden more manageable.
European anti-bailout parties have lashed out at their countries’ governments over Monday’s austerity agreement with Greece.
In Ireland, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has described the behavior by eurozone countries, including the Irish government, as “alarming.” He says “they have closed down the Greek banking system and held the Greek government and people to ransom.”
Adams says “to its shame, the Irish government took the side of the strong against those in need of support.”
Spain’s Podemos party leveled similar criticism. Party official Pablo Echenique tweeted that “the aim (of the deal) is to have a financial coup in Greece.”
The new European bailout accord for Greece will face a debate and vote Wednesday in France’s lower house of Parliament, where it is expected to win approval.
French law doesn’t require a vote, but Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Monday it’s “important” to put the deal to lawmakers to ensure broad support for the idea of helping Greece.
France’s Socialist leadership has been the staunchest ally of Greece’s leftist government this year. Mainstream parties on both the left and right in France have generally supported efforts to keep Greece in the shared euro currency for overall European unity.
The International Monetary Fund says it “stands ready to work with the Greek authorities,” after a deal was reached to prevent Greece from crashing out of the common euro currency.
Under the deal reached Monday, Greece must take certain measures to reform its economy in order to start negotiations on a third multi-billion euro bailout package.
One condition was for Athens to request continued IMF involvement in its efforts to put the Greek economy and government coffers back on track.
The IMF was part of Greece’s two previous bailouts, but at the moment Greece cannot receive any further funds from it after missing a roughly 1.5 billion-euro debt repayment last month. Greece is the first developed nation to have missed an IMF repayment.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras went straight to his Athens office upon returning from the marathon eurozone summit in Brussels and into a meeting with Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and other senior party officials.
Tsipras must push several unpalatable measures through Parliament in the next two days, including sales tax increases and pension reforms, to guarantee that talks on a third multibillion-euro (dollar) bailout for Greece can start in earnest.
He faces an uphill battle to persuade members of his own Syriza party, as well as his governing coalition partner, to back the deal after months of insisting he would not accept more austerity measures.
Greece’s labor minister says the country is likely to see another general election this year.
Panos Skourletis, a former spokesman for the ruling Syriza party, told state television the government