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IMF clears tranche of 3.4 billion euros for Greece

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras leaving the Maximos Mansion after his meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, in Athens on Friday.

The International Monetary Fund agreed on Friday to disburse a new loan of 4.6 billion dollars (3.41 billion euros) to Greece and suggested that the government would not have to adopt any new austerity measures this year.

Friday was the first time that the IMF’s executive board had convened to discuss Greece since July 2013, when the Washington-based Fund disbursed 2.3 billion dollars for Athens. The IMF has so far lent Greece about 15.8 billion dollars under a four-year program.

The latest disbursement comes after the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank completed their review of Greece’s implementation of its adjustment program in March, six months after the inspection began.

The release of the installment was accompanied by a report marking the conclusion of the IMF’s fifth review of the Greek program. The report recognized the large fiscal adjustment that has been achieved in Greece. However, it also stressed the need for the government to continue to implement structural reforms, such as market liberalization, to make the country more attractive to investors and boost the recovery.

The IMF report comes as the government prepares for a reshuffle. The intention to make changes to the cabinet was made this week but there were indications that these would not be carried out until the end of June, when Greece hands over the rotating presidency of the European Union. However, sources told Kathimerini that the reshuffle could be announced by the end of next week.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Deputy Premier Evangelos Venizelos want to make changes that would give the government a new lease on life after some disappointing results in the local and European elections. Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis and Agricultural Development Minister Athanasios Tsaftaris are among those set to be removed from their posts. Former PASOK official Andreas Loverdos could make a return to office, with Venizelos pushing for him to get the job at the Development Ministry.

The future of Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras is still in doubt. It had been thought that he would become the next Bank of Greece governor but Venizelos favors incumbent Giorgos Provopoulos remaining in the post.

ekathimerini.com , Friday May 30, 2014 (20:38)  
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