BUSINESS

EWG approves tranche payment to Athens

TAGS: Finance

The Euro Working Group issued its approval for the disbursement of a 7.5-billion-euro bailout sub-tranche to Athens on Thursday night, as it deemed in its meeting in Helsinki that Greece has fulfilled all the necessary prior actions for the payment of the much-needed cash. The Eurogroup is expected to give the green light for the payment on June 16, bringing the first bailout review process to its official conclusion.

The disbursement of the sub-tranche must also be approved by some national parliaments, including the German Bundestag. The latter’s budget committee avoided taking a stance on the progress of the Greek issue on Tuesday, leaving it for its next meeting, which will take place on Friday. The approval by the Euro Working Group means that the Bundestag committee will most likely give its nod too.

In Brussels on Thursday European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici expressed confidence that the Eurogroup will also decide in favor of the payment of the sub-tranche to Greece. “I am certain that the work done will bear fruit and next week at the Eurogroup [meeting] in Luxembourg we will be able to decide for the disbursement of the 10.3 billion euros to Greece, of which 7.5 billion will be paid out immediately,” Moscovici said on the fringes of the Brussels Economic Forum.

The French politician added that the previous Eurogroup meeting took “a very important step” and noted that “since then we have been working seriously and positively to resolve any problems that exist, one after the other. I believe we are very close to achieving that.”

He went on to predict that there will be a “good Eurogroup” meeting next week which will be able to “confirm that reforms are proceeding in Greece.”

The 7.5-billion-euro payment will constitute “a real source of oxygen” that the Greek economy needs, according to Moscovici, as the aim remains “the return of growth, the confidence of investors, the creation of jobs.”

He further stressed that the Commission’s forecasts for a return to growth in Greece in the second half of the year and a 3 percent expansion of the economy in 2017 depend on the success of the bailout program.

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