EU finance ministers managed to scrape together a deal on a package of eurozone reforms after some 18 hours of talks that ended just before 8 a.m. Tuesday in Brussels.
“We made it,” Eurogroup President Mário Centeno said, describing the all-night talks as “a very intense and exhaustive negotiation.”
Ministers will now present the package to their leaders when they gather next week for the euro summit in Brussels.
The 27 ministers managed to grab what eurozone diplomats have long billed “the low-hanging fruit” after almost two years of negotiations. That came in the shape of the eurozones bailout fund, known as the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which will serve as the financial backstop to the EUs authority for handling failing banks.
A draft version of the deal, seen by POLITICO, said the backstop could come into force earlier than its scheduled date of 2024, if eurozone banks manage to reduce their stockpile of bad loans in the coming years.
Ministers also updated the credit lines that the ESM can offer to countries in economic difficulty — but only under strict conditions.
Eurozone countries are also set to reform the so-called collective action clauses in their government bond contracts by 2022 that would make it easier to delay debt payments in the event of a country bailout.
The deal is set to make some reference to plans to develop a eurozone budget under the insistence from French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who clashed with the Netherlands over the need for a “stabilization function” in the final text.
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