Greece to get $9.5 billion bailout payment

Alicia Cross
June 16, 2017

Euro zone ministers struck a long delayed bailout deal with Greece on Thursday (June 15) to unlock badly needed rescue cash, but warned Athens would have to wait for debt relief.

"We are really doing our best to find an agreement", he had said earlier after seeing his Greek counterpart Euclid Tsakalotos.

Asked about debt relief measures for Greece, he said it remained the German government's point of view that such measures for Greece can only be decided on after the existing third bailout ends in 2018. The average maturity now is 30 years.But they did not go any further than that and the International Monetary Fund said it was not enough to calculate Greek debt sustainability.Debt relief talk has been a hard sell in Germany, the biggest contributor to the Greek bailouts, which faces elections in September and does not want to anger its bailout-weary voters with discussions of relief for Athens. "We wanted a full clarity for the ideal to be the enemy of the good", added Tsakalotos, that did not fail to thank the Ministry, the Greek MPs and the new French finance minister Bruno Le Maire for his hard work since he received office to persuade all sides towards a fairer conclusion for Greece.

"Today we will give more clarity to Greece", he said as he joined the gathering in Luxembourg. It needs the money to meet roughly 7 billion euros ($7.8 billion) in debt repayments in July that it will struggle to meet from its own resources.

However, Christine Lagarde, the IMF's managing director, said enough progress was made at Thursday's meeting for her to go to the International Monetary Fund executive board in Washington to get the stand-by facility of less than $2 billion.

In an article written for France's Le Monde and Germany's Die Welt, Alexis Tsipras said dealing with Greece's debt, which stands at about 320 billion euros ($360 billion) or around 180 percent of the country's annual gross domestic product, was key to future growth. "We didn't want the ideal to be the enemy of the good".

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Greece's European creditors agreed to give the cash-strapped country the next batch of money due from its bailout and outlined a series of debt relief measures they hope will foster growth. In the form of "a clear commitment" that Athens would complete its current bailout programme next summer and ultimately retap capital markets.

The IMF, which took part in Greece's two first bailouts, has long insisted that more debt relief was a necessary step to put the economy back on track.

The IMF and the euro zone have widely different forecasts for Greek growth in the decades to come and on Athens' ability to achieve high primary surpluses - the budget leftover not including debt servicing costs - to solve its financial crisis.

"It's hard. It's complicated", he said.

"We have been robbed blind", said Stavros Vassiliou, 65, "I worked 41 years in construction. Now it is time for the Europeans to comply with their commitments on debt relief", Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said in an interview with German daily Handelsblatt. "I was taking 2,400 euros in 2011, now I take [a pension] of 1,000".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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