Stournaras says recovery close as Greece receives 2.8bln euros from March tranche

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras has told a German newspaper that the “worst is behind” Greece as Athens received the delayed March bailout tranche of 2.8 billion euros.

Speaking to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Stournaras said Greece still had “a long road ahead” but that the unity between the three coalition parties was helping the government’s work.

Stournaras also played down the possibility of social unrest as a result of continuing austerity and recession.

“There is no way we are close to a social explosion,” he told the paper, adding that only protest are in the public sector as other Greeks can “see light at the end of the tunnel.”

The finance minister said that he expects to see an improvement in the real economy soon, adding that the government’s bid to pay off 8.7 billion euros in state arrears by the end of the year was the equivalent of 1 percent of GDP growth.

Stournaras’s interview coincided with Greece receiving from its eurozone partners the 2.8 billion euros cleared after Athens adopted a new round of structural reforms, including 15,000 dismissals in the civil service, last month.

Finance Ministry sources said Greece hopes to secure the disbursement of another 6 billion euros from its lenders at the May 13 meeting of the Eurogroup.