ECONOMY

Eurozone officials approve release of next Greek bailout tranche

Greece won the release of a 2.5 billion-euro loan installment to tide it through the coming weeks, as European governments put off debate over Greek debt relief until after Germany’s election in September.

Euro-area governments approved the payment on a conference call of senior finance officials after Greece yesterday took steps to pare public-sector payrolls, meeting the last of 22 conditions set by creditors, three European officials said on condition of anonymity.

Greece is also scheduled to receive 1.8 billion euros from the International Monetary Fund and to recoup 1.5 billion euros in profits made by European central banks on Greek bonds in their portfolios.

Simon O’Connor, a spokesman for European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, announced the Euro Working Group’s decision to approve the next tranche for Greece via Twitter.

“#EWG green light for #Greece: €2.5bn from EFSF, €1.5bn SMP income to be dibursed subject to completion of national procedures on Monday,” he wrote.

“Both of these disbursements are subject to the completion of national approval procedures on Monday,” he added.

The IMF meets July 29 to discuss its portion, German Deputy Finance Minister Steffen Kampeter said this week. A German parliament committee meets the same day to give the go-ahead for Germany’s contribution.

The release of the latest Greek bailout tranche comes after MPs approved on Thursday an amendment that means Education Ministry workers with postgraduate degrees are no longer exempt from being placed in a labor mobility scheme.

A total of 25,000 public sector workers will be placed in a mobility scheme by the end of the year. Of these, 12,500 have to be found by the end of September. This year, 4,000 civil servants will have to be fired and the total number of sackings will must rise to 15,000 by the end of next year.

The government has also committed to completing organization charts for ministries by the end of September, when it will also have to finalize the criteria for evaluating which of the civil servants placed in the mobility scheme will be moved to other positions and which will be fired. The workers will be allowed to stay in the labor pool for a maximum of eight months.

[Kathimerini & Bloomberg]