It was a test of their stamina.
After agreeing to a second 130 billion euro bailout for Greece in the early hours of the morning, eurozone finance ministers were back for more talks.
But the main agreement had already been reached.
And French Finance Minister, Francois Baroin, said he was satisfied with the outcome:
“It allows us to share the burden equally among the European part and the Greek part, between the public sector and the private sector. It is a really good agreement, because we reached targets we set previously, perhaps it is even better than we could have imagined when we arrived at this meeting.”
Private sector holders of Greek debt will take slightly higher losses on the value of their bonds.
But German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, says the new program will help get Greece back on the right track:
“We agreed a haircut of 53.5% and the coupon for the new bonds will start at about 2%, rising to 3% and then 4.3% after 2020.”
To lighten Athens’ debt burden, the ECB will give up the profits it’s made from buying Greek bonds over the past two years.
But ECB President, Mario Draghi, says there are conditions:
“It is very important that all major political forces in Greece own this program. They stand behind the commitments that have been taken by the Prime Minister and Finance Ministers tonight and lastly, it is also very, very important the program and its implementation be rightly monitored.”
That prospect hasn’t gone down well in Greece.
But Prime Minister, Lucas Papademos, called the deal “positive”:
“We worked very hard in order to adopt the new economic program that was agreed with the Troika and that was formally approved today. And the agreement on the PSI which has been the subject of extensive negotiations over the past two months, this agreement was finalized.”
The bailout will save Greece from a chaotic default in March.
It’s also designed to cut its debt to 120.5% of GDP by 2020.
But many still doubt whether it will do more than deal with its immediate debt problems.