Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou (L), European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (C) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (R) shake hands after a joint news conference at the end of a summit in Brussels July 21, 2011.
Source: Press TV
Leaders of the 17-member eurozone, alongside the private sector, have agreed on a new bailout package worth about 159 billion euros for Greece to stop debt contagion across Europe.
The leaders decided on the new rescue package -- which reduces the country's debt by one-forth -- in an emergency summit in Brussels on Thursday.
According to a statement released after the summit, Greece will receive a bailout package of 109 billion euros from the eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in addition to 49.6 billion euros the debt-laden country expects to receive from the private sector, AFP reported.
Fearing that the economic crisis in Greece might affect other member countries, eurozone leaders agreed that the country needed an "exceptional and unique" solution and, as such, voluntary private sector involvement would be allowed in the eurozone area, but this will be fully “limited to Greece.”
Greece was accepted into the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union by the European Council on 19 June 2000, based on a number of criteria using 1999 as the reference year. By the end of 2009, the Greek economy faced the highest budget deficit and government debt to GDP ratios in the EU, which together with rising debt levels led to rising borrowing costs, resulting in a severe economic crisis.