Greece’s next bailout payments approved
BRUSSELS - The Associated Press
Klaus Masuch of the European Central Bank (L) and European Commission official Matthias Mors exit the Ministry of Administrative Reform in Athens. AP photoGreece passed another hurdle in its bailout program on late July 8, securing installments of the rescue package that is keeping the cash-strapped country afloat.
Greece’s creditors approved the release of 6.8 billion euros ($8.7 billion) in funds over the next few months, provided the country sticks to the agenda of cuts and reforms it agreed in return for the bailout loans - including the firing of several thousand civil servants.
Experts from the European Central Bank, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund said the country’s reform program, implemented in exchange for rescue loans, is largely on track, although it’s moving too slowly. They also warned that the country’s economic outlook remains uncertain.
But they still recommended that the next loan payments be made, and the finance ministers from the 17 countries that use the euro agreed. Belgian Finance Minister Koen Geens said the loans would be divided into three groups and disbursed in July, August and October.
“Greece is getting on track,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said as he left the meeting in Brussels. “It is not easy for them.”
After years of overspending, Greece nearly went bankrupt and is now surviving on rescue loans. To ensure that the government keeps up with the reforms it promised in exchange for 240 billion euros in bailout loans, its creditors turn over the funds slowly - and only after rigorous assessments of the country’s progress.
Hammered by a financial crisis since late 2009 and in the sixth year of a deep recession, Greece’s creditors, known as the troika, said the country’s reform program remained “broadly in line” with projections. It also laid out the hope of a gradual return to growth next year.