No need for fresh bail-out to Greece before August
Monday, February 17, 2014
BRUSSELS - President of the Eurogroup and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Monday that there is no need to discuss fresh aid for Greece, which has been bailed out twice before, before autum 2014.
"If the current programme is fulfilled, then further disbursements can take place by May, which will take [Greece] through to August," said Dijsselbloem.
Speaking to the press after a meeting of 18 Eurozone finance ministers, with Greece high on the agenda, Dijsselbloem stated that they could talk about the future of Greece in August.
"The debt has to be reduced and that is precisely what we will talk about after the summer," Dijsselbloem noted.
Noting that the official EU figures on the Greek budget position are due at April's end, the chairman of Eurozone ministers said the Troika would return to Athens later this week.
The European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), known as the Troika, review every three months Greece's progress in putting its finances in order and reforming its economy in exchange for the loans, which are disbursed in tranches.
Greece fell into recession after the collapse of US bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, which sparked a Europe-wide debt crisis the following year.
The EU and IMF provided 110 billion euros in bailout loans to Greece, to help the government pay its creditors in 2010.
A second 130 billion euro bailout was provided in 2012.
According to estimates, Greece will need four billion euros in additional finances this year.
The IMF announced in July its estimate that Greece will need about 11 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in additional financing in 2015.
Struggling to meet the terms of the second package, Greece claims it has done enough to satisfy the 'Troika', especially in achieving a "primary budget surplus" -- that is, a budget in the black before debt costs.
Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told German newspaper Bild on February 10 that Athens does not require a third bailout as they are reaching the goals of our current program and its results show.
Most of Greece's private-sector creditors agreed to write off about three-quarters of the debts owed by Athens and to replace existing loans with new loans at a lower interest rate.
In 2013, the EU estimated that Greece would emerge from its recession in 2014 and projected solid growth of 2.9 percent in 2015 if Greece maintains its current path.
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