Decision on Greek aid payment seen next week, EU officials say

Decision on Greek aid payment seen next week, EU officials say

Greece may get approval next week for the next payment under its new, 86 billion-euro ($97.5 billion) bailout program, though the government still has work to do to meet the requirements for the disbursement, according to two euro-area officials.

The legislation that Greece passed Friday night doesn’t meet all of the requirements for the 2 billion-euro payment and the government must continue talks with Greece’s international creditors overseeing the rescue program, the officials said, asking not to be named because the negotiations are ongoing. Euro-area finance ministry deputies will need to approve the disbursement.

The top negotiators for the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Stability Mechanism and the International Monetary Fund — the four institutions overseeing Greece’s progress under the bailout package — will be in Athens October 21-23 to discuss “progress in the implementation of the program, with special regard to the fulfillment of the milestones and the outlook of the first review,” commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt told reporters on Monday in Brussels.

Greece was assigned 48 milestones for its next payout, including changing its household insolvency law, amending an early retirement law for public-sector workers, and electricity and gas-market reforms.

The 2 billion-euro payment is part of the new rescue program’s first segment, as is a follow-on disbursement of 1 billion euros, so the funds can be unlocked by finance deputies without involving finance ministers or full euro-area national approval procedures.

For subsequent payouts, Greece will need to pass the first overall review of its bailout program, now slated for November. The review is linked to the ECB’s assessment of Greece’s four biggest banks and to whether Greece can win access to the full 25 billion euros set aside for bank recapitalization by a November 15 deadline.

Greece must still reach agreement with creditors on the conditions for the 1 billion-euro payout, Breidthardt said.


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