Eurozone bailout fund approves 7.5 billion euros for Greece

The eurozone bailout fund approved a disbursement of 7.5 billion euros (8.4 billion dollars) for Greece on Friday, with the money expected to be transferred to the cash-strapped country early next week.

Athens and its creditors had spent months negotiating reforms and cost-cutting measures that would allow funds to continue flowing from Greece's third, 86-billion-euro bailout, which was agreed to last year.

Only 2 billion euros have been paid out so far.

"Today's decision ... is a recognition of the Greek government's commitment to carry out essential reforms," said Klaus Regling, head of the bailout fund. He pointed to changes in pension and income tax, the establishment of a new privatization fund, and laws enabling the sale of non-performing loans, among other things.

"Thanks to these measures, and other reforms implemented in recent months, Greece is on track to return to economic growth," he said.

Eurozone finance ministers had given the green light to the disbursement on Thursday during talks in Luxembourg, where the bailout fund is based.

The money is due to be transferred early next week, Regling said on Thursday.

It is part of a 10.3-billion-euro tranche the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers approved in principle last month. The money is needed to prevent Greece from returning to the brink of bankruptcy.

Athens has to make more than 3 billion euros in debt payments in July alone. The remaining 2.8 billion euros of the bailout tranche will be paid later this year, once Athens has carried out further reforms in areas including privatization, bank governance and the energy sector.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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