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Eurogroup decides to release vital loans to Greece

07-03-2011 08:30 BJT

BRUSSELS, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Eurogroup finance ministers decided on Saturday to release the fifth tranche of loans to Greece to avoid an immediate default of the country.

As part of the first bailout package for Greece last year, the fifth tranche of loans, which amount to 12 billion euros (17 billion U.S. dollars) in total, was originally planned to be handed to Greece in June so that Athens could meet its urgent financing needs in July. But the fund was held off due to the country's failure to meet austerity targets.

"Ministers noted with satisfaction the adoption of key laws on the fiscal strategy and privatisation by the Greek Parliament," the ministers said in a statement released after a conference call.

"Against this background and on the basis of the debt sustainabliity analysis by the Commission and the IMF, ministers approve the disbursement of the fifth trance of the current Greek Loan Facility by 15 July follow approval by the IMF board, as originally envisaged, " the statement said.

The IMF is expected to approve its share of 3.3 billion euros (4.75 billion dollars) of the fifth tranche of loans next week.

The ministers said that consultations are underway with Greece creditors in order to define how private investors should involve in the second bailout package to Greece.

"The precise modalities and scale of private sector involvement and additional funding from official sources will be determined in the coming weeks so as to ensure that inter alia, required program financing is in place," the ministers said.

The ministers' decision came after the Greek parliament endorsed the austerity measures put forward by the government on Wednesday and Thursday, clearing all hurdles for the disbursement of the loans which Athens needs badly.

The loans will save the debt-laden country from an immediate default but the country needs a second rescue package which analysts estimated could reach 85 billion euros (122 billion dollars).

The finance ministers of the bloc are scheduled to discuss parameters of the plan at their monthly meeting on July 11. But analysts said that details of the plan could take weeks or even months.

The fifth trance of loans will keep Athens afloat until September and the eurogroup has to make the new rescue package ready before that deadline.

But some economists insist that even a second bailout plan would not be enough to put Athens back on track since its debt load, equivalent to 150 percent of the country's gross domestic product, is just too heavy.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: inhua

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