NEWS

Last prior action completed, next loan tranche due

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Greece completed the last of the 13 prior actions needed to secure the release of its next 1 billion euros in bailout installments, which is now expected to be disbursed before Christmas.

The pending action that the government had to take was to set lower prices for the diagnostic tests paid for by the country’s main public healthcare provider, EOPYY. The ministerial decision signed on Monday foresees a reduction of 43 percent in the 51 most expensive tests, while the cost of lab tests will be cut by 9 percent.

The Health Ministry said that it will examine the impact of the measure in two months, giving the government time to draft a more comprehensive plan for EOPYY to rein in its spending.

“The decision was taken under the pressure to fulfill the prior actions,” said the Health Ministry in a statement. “It is the result of the institutions’ inexplicable insistence solely on reducing prices as a way of controlling costs.”

Despite the ministry’s skepticism about the measures, Monday’s decision means that Athens is set to receive the 1-billion-euro loan in the next few days.

“The Greek authorities delivered all the outstanding input to complete the second set of milestones to the institutions for their final assessment,” European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said in Brussels on Monday, adding that the go-ahead was subject to the lenders’ “positive assessment.”