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Associated Press
Brussels, December 13, 2012
In one whirlwind morning, the European Union nations agreed on the foundation of a fully fledged banking union and Greece's euro partners approved billions of euros in bailout loans that will prevent the nation from going bankrupt.

The two measures approved by finance ministers from the 27-country EU ended weeks of haggling over ways to deal with the three-year financial crisis. Their decisions free up EU leaders gathering for their summit later on Thursday to focus on solving other economic and financial problems.

"Europe and the eurozone have proved that they are capable of eliminating the challenges that confront them," said French President Francois Hollande.

A meeting of the 17 eurozone finance ministers early Thursday agreed that Greece will get a total of €49.1 billion ($64 billion) between now and March, with €34.3 billion due in the coming days. Greece needs the money to stay afloat and avoid a potential default.