Eurozone finance ministers approve Greek aid disbursement

Stournaras hails 'big day for Greece'

Euro area finance ministers, also known as the Eurogroup, have approved the release of the next aid payment to Greece, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters Thursday in Brussels.

He said money should start flowing as soon as next week.

The Eurogroup agreed to immediately disburse 34.4 billion euros in bailout funds for Greece.

Of this, 16 billion will go towards bank recapitalization, 7 billion for budgetary financing and 11.3 billion to finance Greece's buyback program, which was completed this week.

“The disbursement agreed to today will allow for liquidity to flow back into the Greek economy,” European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said at a press conference.

"This is a big day for Greece," Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told journalists after the meeting.

The Greek government this week said it plans to pay 11.29 billion euros to buy back 31.9 billion euros of bonds to reduce its debt burden and retain the support of the EU and the International Monetary Fund. The buyback underscores a move away from the austerity-first measures European leaders have embraced since the financial crisis began in 2009.

To repurchase all the debt tendered, Greece needed approval to spend more than the 10 billion-euro loan from Europe’s bailout fund earmarked for the buyback. [Kathimerini, Bloomberg]