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Euro zone ministers strike deal for a second Greece bailout

Finance ministers haggled into the night in Brussels over the terms of new loans for Greece.

Eurozone brussels 2012 20 02Enlarge
Lt o R) French Finance minister Francois Baroin, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and German Finance State Secretary Jorg Asmussen talk prior an Eurozone meeting on February 20, 2012 at the EU Headquarters in Brussels. (GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images)

Euro zone finance ministers struck a deal early on Tuesday for a second bailout program for Greece that includes new financing of $170 billion and aims to cut Greece's debt to 121 percent of GDP by 2020, Reuters reported.

Finance ministers haggled into the night in Brussels over the terms of new loans for Greece, Bloomberg reported.

The marathon talks lasted 12 hours.

French Finance Minister Francois Baroin said Monday, “We have all the elements for an accord,” according to AFP. The negotiations have been going on for six months, with Greece’s future hanging in the balance, between rescue and eviction from the eurozone.

More on GlobalPost: Greeks protest ahead of EU bailout vote (VIDEO)

Securing the $170 billion bailout was vital for Greece. It can now go ahead with a related $130 billion debt relief deal with private investors and stave off defaulting on bond repayments due March 20.

In the event of bankruptcy, Greece would have most likely left the 17-country eurozone and reverted to its old currency, further destabilizing its economy.

Earlier on Monday, Greek finance minister, Evangelis Venizelos, said in a statement, “The Greek people send to Europe the message that they have made, and will make, the necessary sacrifices for our country to regain its position of equality within the European family,” reported the BBC.

Last week, the Greek government approved austerity measures that included a 22 percent cut in the country’s minimum wage and the elimination of 15,000 government jobs, said Voice of America. Greek workers have been protesting in the last few days against the austerity measures, with some spots of violent clashes.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/120220/euro-zone-ministers-strike-deal-second-greece-bailout