NEWS

Eurozone approves release of 40bn euros

The eurozone approved on Wednesday the first wave of loans for Greece under a heavily-conditioned second bailout, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said.

“Euro area member states have today formally approved the second adjustment program for Greece,» the head of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers said in a statement.

He specified that a «first installment» of 39.4 billion euros would be «disbursed in several tranches.”

“All required national and parliamentary procedures have been finalised,» Juncker said.

Describing the financial aid as «a unique opportunity for Greece that should not be missed,» Juncker stressed that a «strong commitment» from Athens to «fiscal consolidation, structural reforms and privatisation» was required to return the Greek economy «to a sustainable path, which is in the interest of everyone.”

The first wave of loans is to come from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), the eurozone bailout fund due to be swallowed up by a larger permanent fund that should enter service at the beginning of July.

A spokesman for the EFSF said the money would cover two areas.

One is the recapitalisation needs of Greek banks after losses sustained during a write-down of privately-held Greek government debt.

This is now thought to be of the order of 25 billion euros — slightly more than initially estimated.

The remainder of the loans would cover Greek government financing needs through the end of June, the spokesman added.

[AFP]