Papandreou hails 'new era' after EU deal

Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou on Thursday hailed "a new era, a new chapter" for the debt-strapped nation after Europe's leaders clinched a breakthrough deal aimed at containing the euro area debt crisis.

The deal notably will cut 100 billion euros off Greece's 350-billion-euro debt mountain thanks to an agreement between the eurozone and a banking lobby for banks to take 50 percent losses on Greek debt.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures during a press conference held at the end of a Eurozone summit at the Justus Lipsius building, EU headquarters in Brussels, on October 27, 2011.

The Institute of International Finance on Wednesday welcomed a "comprehensive package of measures to stabilize Europe, to strengthen the European banking system and to support Greece's reform effort."

"We welcome the announcement by the leaders of the Euro Area," added a statement quoting Charles Dallara, managing director of the Washington-based global association of financial institutions.

Earlier, the eurozone sealed a grand deal to overcome its festering debt crisis Thursday when banks agreed to take a 50 percent loss on Greek debt, officials said.

Eurozone officials announced the deal following tough talks in Brussels between leaders of the eurozone and the Institute of International Finance banking lobby to force the private sector to share the pain of Greece's debt burden.

The agreement was the last and perhaps toughest chapter to negotiate in a wide-ranging four-point plan to find a lasting solution to Europe's festering debt crisis


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