Greece to get 5.7 bln euros in bailout cash

AFP , Tuesday 27 Mar 2018

Pro-Euro protestors gather on Constitution (Syntagma) square in front of the parliament building, in
Pro-Euro protestors gather on Constitution (Syntagma) square in front of the parliament building, in Athens, Greece (Photo: Reuters)

Eurozone authorities will make a fresh 5.7 billion euro cash injection to Greece on Wednesday, putting Athens further down the road to leaving its painful bailout programme later this year.

The new tranche agreed by the EU's bailout fund on Tuesday is the latest from Greece's third financial rescue package since 2010, when its debt crisis brought the European single currency close to collapse.

A final sum of one billion euros will be held back until Greece makes final reforms, and will be not be paid out until May at the earliest, the European Stability Fund said in a statement.

Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno, who heads the Eurogroup of finance ministers from the 19-country eurozone, welcomed the latest payout.

"A chunk of the funds will be pumped into the Greek economy and will help Greece build up its cash buffer. That's good news," Centeno tweeted.

European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said it was "another positive signal for strengthening the confidence in Greece's economy" as it prepares to end its bailout.

"Moving closer to the end of programme, Greece's interest is to show that it has reached the point of no return," Dombrovskis said.
An overall tranche of 6.7 billion euros -- Wednesday's payment plus the one billion to come -- was formally agreed by the Eurogroup in January.

But the ministers delayed final approval of the funds at their meeting on February 19, calling on Greece to begin implementing electronic bidding for property seized from overdue debtors.

The payout marks the formal closure of the third review by Greece's creditors under the current bailout programme.

The current programme, which was worth a total of 86 billion euros and agreed in 2015, runs until August this year, after which the southern European nation hopes to fully return to market financing and get back on its own two feet.

Greece earlier this month launched talks on what measures it should adopt before quitting the bailout programme, with a deal being targeted for a June summit.

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