EFEAthens

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Saturday that the hard part of Greece's negotiations with its eurozone partners lies ahead, a day after the Eurogroup agreed in Brussels to extend Athens' loan agreement for four months.

"We've won a battle, not the war," Tsipras said in a televised address to the nation, adding that the difficult part of the talks starts now.

The prime minister hailed Friday's accord as "a successful negotiation" for his country, while the Eurogroup said Greece has committed itself to "a broader and deeper structural reform process" and many observers have described the pact as a capitulation on Athens' part.

"Yesterday we secured the failure of the plan by conservative forces in Greece and abroad to asphyxiate our country and we showed that Europe is a space for negotiation and mutually beneficial compromises and not a space for extermination, subservience and punishment," Tsipras said.

He said the accord "leaves behind austerity and the memorandum (rescue loan agreement)" and paves the way for negotiations to achieve "growth, employment and our European future."

Austerity measures have pushed Greece's unemployment rate above 25 percent even as the country's debt-to-GDP ratio has soared from 110 percent to 185 percent.

The bailout extension deal does away with further "reductions in salaries and pensions, with measures that lead to recession and with exaggerated (primary budget) surplus (targets)," the prime minister said.

But Greece now has just 48 hours to present the reform measures - based on its current bailout program - it plans to undertake.

No funds will be made available to Greece until after that list is reviewed and approved by the Eurogroup, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

"The Greek authorities will present a first list of reform measures, based on the current arrangement, by the end of Monday, Feb. 23. The institutions will provide a first view whether this is sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point for a successful conclusion of the review. This list will be further specified and then agreed with the institutions by the end of April," the Eurogroup said in a statement.

Eurogroup finance ministers will hear the results of that "first view" in a teleconference next Tuesday, Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said.

"The Greek authorities reiterate their unequivocal commitment to honor their financial obligations to all their creditors fully and timely," the Eurogroup statement said. EFE

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