BRUSSELS — Eurozone finance ministers on Tuesday approved Greece’s plan meant to ease the hardships created by its international bailout, extending that loan program by four more months.
In revising the terms of the bailout program, the new Greek government pledged to take a disciplined approach to budgets, spending and tax collection, while remaining committed to relieving the “humanitarian crisis” caused by years of economic hardship and high unemployment. Many Greeks blame the austerity-budget requirement of the bailout program, agreed to by a previous government, for those privations.
But in trying to achieve that delicate balance — to meet the demands of its European creditors in order to keep the loan money flowing, but without reneging on the anti-austerity campaign promises on which it was elected in January — the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras may find a difficult road ahead.
The finance ministers of the 19 euro-currency countries, who last Friday had agreed to consider an extension of Greece’s 240 billion euro, or $272 billion, loan program, on Tuesday afternoon quickly approved the subsequent plan.
But though the eurozone ministers were leading the negotiations on behalf of their countries, the response from two of the other creditors — the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — conveyed a certain skepticism of whether Greece could live up to the terms of the new agreement.
不过，尽管欧元区的财长们代表各自的国家主导着谈判，另外的两个债权方——欧洲央行(European Central Bank)和国际货币基金组织（International Monetary Fund，简称IMF）——却对希腊能否遵守新的协议条款表达了一定程度的怀疑。
Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, said on Tuesday that the Greek measures were a “valid starting point” and suggested that he might be open to changes in the conditions originally imposed by Greece’s creditors when the current bailout program was agreed to in 2012.
But Mr. Draghi said that Athens needed to provide more details about what it had in mind, and that any existing loan conditions the Greeks did not like would have to be replaced “with measures of equal or better quality.”
Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the I.M.F., said she welcomed new commitments by Athens to fight tax evasion and corruption. But she warned that the Greek measures were “generally not very specific” and suffered a lack of “clear assurances” in “perhaps the most important” areas — like the size of pensions; revisions of Greece’s sales tax; continued plans to sell off state-owned assets; and revisions to labor laws, which outside critics consider too burdensome to employers.
On Tuesday, there was no immediate political outcry within Greece. That was in contrast to last Friday when even some members of Mr. Tsipras’s Syriza party criticized even the tentative agreement with the creditors as a sellout.
Some analysts, though, predicted tough going for Mr. Tsipras in coming months.
“He’s really between a rock and a hard place now,” said Carsten Brzeski, chief economist in Germany for the bank ING. “It will be very hard for him to please both sides of this equation,” said Mr. Brzeski, alluding to the restive Greek electorate — who voted in large numbers for Mr. Tsipras to ditch austerity — and to the country’s creditors, who are demanding that Greece enact sweeping reforms before being given more bailout money.
“There is really very little he can sell to his electorate that is linked to his election campaign, apart from a few things like an increase in the minimum wage and a slower pace of privatizations,” Mr. Brzeski said. “His big vote-winners like getting rid of the troika and the bailout program have not happened.”
The troika is the common name of the three bailout monitors — the European Central Bank, the I.M.F. and the European Commission, which is the executive arm of the European Union.
Even Tuesday’s milestone is not the final one for Greece. The plan is expected to still require the approval of lawmakers in Greece, Austria, Estonia, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Slovakia before a Saturday deadline, when the European portion of the bailout program is set to expire.
Even the finance ministers who signed off on the deal Tuesday indicated Greece still had more homework to do. “We call on the Greek authorities to further develop and broaden the list of reform measures, based on the current arrangement, in close coordination with the institutions,” the ministers wrote, referring to the I.M.F. and European Central Bank.
There is little doubt that the lenders will continue to scrutinize Greece’s finances, and they could make additional demands on Athens before making the next loan disbursement, which would be