The Eurogroup on Monday gave a conditional go-ahead for the release of 6.7 billion euros to Greece and for the start of technical talks for debt relief after the other 18 eurozone finance ministers said on Monday that the country had implemented almost all the prior actions to conclude the third review of its third bailout.
“The Eurogroup welcomes the implementation of almost all of the agreed prior actions for the third review, following the staff-level agreement on the policy package that was presented to the December 4 Eurogroup,” it said in a statement, adding that Greek authorities have adopted the 2018 state budget “which is compliant with the agreed primary surplus target of 3.5 percent of gross domestic product.”
However, the money will be disbursed in two installments.
The first 5.7 billion euros will be paid out in February after Greece implements all outstanding prior actions, “to cover debt servicing needs, to allow the further clearance of arrears and to support the buildup of the cash buffer of the Greek state, in order to support Greece’s return to the market.”
The remaining 1 billion euros will be made available after the state’s debts are paid off and auctions of foreclosed properties continue smoothly. Some 10,000 auctions are expected this year. The decision, which came after Parliament passed a multitude of reforms into legislation last week, is expected to put Greece on track for a bailout exit after eight years of harsh austerity programs.
The Eurogroup statement also said “the European institutions’ compliance report shows that the Greek authorities have overachieved the fiscal targets set over the last three years (2015-17).”