Eurogroup Agrees to Release Next Tranche of Greek Bailout
The finance ministers of the countries from the eurozone approved the disbursement of the next tranche of the EUR 86 B bailout to Greece, which had been agreed between Athens and the international creditors last year.
After eleven hours of talks in Brussels that lasted into the early hours on Wednesday, the Eurogroup also agreed to eventually offer debt relief to Greece in 2018 if this is necessary to meet the agreed criteria on its payments burden.
Debt relief has been requested by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which considers the public debt as unsustainable at its current level, namely 180 % of Greek GDP.
For some time the Eurogroup and IMF have been at odds over the issue of reducing Greek debt.
Eurogroup President and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem identified the agreement reached at the meeting as “major breakthrough”, which marked a new phase in the Greek financial assistance programme.
Dijsselbloem added that a package of debt measures would be “phased in progressively” and confirmed that the IMF would now stay on board and continue funding the Greek bailout.
The eurozone finance ministers agreed to release EUR 10.3 B in new funds, with the first installment of EUR 7.5 B to be unlocked next month, while another EUR 2.8 B will follow suit.
This development comes two days after the Greek parliament approved another round of budget cuts and tax rises as demanded by the troika of international creditors.
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