NEWS

Focus shifts to Euro Working Group's decision on funds

TAGS: EU, Economy, Politics

The Euro Working Group is to meet in Helsinki on Thursday for a session that is expected to give the green light for the disbursement of 7.5 billion euros in bailout funding to Greece following the completion of a series of prior actions by Athens.

The next step is for the decision to release the funding to be ratified by the parliaments of a series of eurozone governments.

The budget committee of the Bundestag convened on Wednesday and Germany’s parliament was expected to be among the first to approve the motion.

A statement by the parliamentary representative of the CDU/CSU political alliance, Eckhardt Rehberg, made it clear that Berlin was determined to ensure that Greece has honored all its commitments before any aid is released.

“We did not release the next tranche today because a small portion of measures agreed to by the Greek government have yet to be enforced,” he said.

Commenting, a government official with knowledge of negotiations between Greece and its creditors blamed the European Commission for delaying the scheduled release of a compliance report which would have shown that Athens has made good on all prior actions.

A European official in Brussels told Kathimerini that he anticipated no delays in the disbursement of the 7.5 billion euros before June 23, when Britons are to vote in a referendum on whether to stay in the European Union or not.

After the Euro Working Group gives the initial green light, and a series of eurozone parliaments approve the motion, the European Stability Mechanism’s managing board will convene to give the final word on the release of the cash which Greece needs to pay down debt maturing in July.

That meeting is scheduled for June 16, meaning Greece will most likely receive the money well before the British referendum, a sensitive issue for eurozone officials as the outcome could spur further upheaval in the bloc.

On Wednesday, the two parties in the coalition voted through Parliament a so-called “growth law” aimed at kick-starting the economy. It is one in a series of bills the government hopes will redress the balance after a barrage of austerity measures.

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