Greece may win 2 billion-euro payout by Monday, EU official says
The Greek government might win a delayed 2 billion-euro ($2.2 billion) aid disbursement by Nov. 9 and the country’s banks will probably have to tap some emergency funding earmarked for them, a European Union official said.
The 2 billion-euro payout for the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras could precede or coincide with a meeting on Monday of euro-area finance ministers at which the European Central Bank will present its recent review of the health of Greek lenders, the EU official told reporters in Brussels on the usual condition of anonymity.
The ECB on Saturday announced a 4.4 billion-euro shortfall at the four main Greek banks — National Bank of Greece SA, Piraeus Bank SA, Eurobank Ergasias SA and Alpha Bank AE — using its baseline economic assumptions; and a 14.4 billion-euro gap under the most pessimistic scenario.
The scheduled 2 billion-euro payment for the government in Athens is part of an initial 26 billion-euro segment under the latest rescue program for Greece, as is a follow-on disbursement of 1 billion euros for which the country has yet to qualify. The first segment also includes about 13 billion euros that Greece used to repay debt and 10 billion euros earmarked to recapitalize Greek banks.
Greek lenders will likely need part of the 10 billion-euro sum, the EU official said. Any disbursement of bank- recapitalization funds requires a number of financial-industry rule changes in Greece, according to the official, who said these reforms are covered by two sets of “milestones” that the country must reach.
Greece has until Nov. 15 to unlock an extra 15 billion euros set aside for bank recapitalization under the country’s latest aid program, which totals 86 billion euros and follows two separate Greek bailouts since 2010.
Greek lenders should be able to forgo the additional 15 billion euros of aid because the stress tests revealed a smaller-than-expected capital shortfall, according to the EU official.
“The 10 billion will suffice for now,” said the official, who added that ambiguity exists in the mid-November deadline for claiming the extra 15 billion euros earmarked for Greek banks.
The first two rescue packages for Greece totaled 240 billion euros in aid pledges.