Monday, July 10, 2017

Euro Zone Set to OK Release of Loans to Greece This Week-EU Official

By REUTERSJULY 6, 2017, 3:21 P.M. E.D.T.

The New York Times

BRUSSELS — Eurozone creditors are set to give their final go-ahead to the release of loans to Greece on Friday under a political agreement reached in June, a euro zone official said on Thursday.

Greece needs new loans under its current 86 billion euro (76 billion pounds) bailout programme, the third since 2010, to pay debt due this month.

In a meeting in June, euro zone finance ministers reached a political deal to disburse 8.5 billion euros of new financial aid to Athens. But the actual disbursement was linked to some conditions that needed to be fulfilled by Greece.

"I am very convinced that smallish issues will be cleared up by tomorrow afternoon," a euro zone official said on Thursday.

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On Friday the board of directors of the European Stability Mechanism, the euro zone bailout fund, will hold a conference call where they are expected to give their green light to the release of funds, the official said.

"I'm quite sure that outstanding measures will be judged as having been fulfilled," the official added.

The big outstanding snag was a case involving three former privatisation officials from Italy, Spain and Slovakia, who had been charged in Greece with breaches of duty during the sale in 2015 of state properties.

Euro zone finance ministers said Athens should grant immunity to the three before fresh loans could be unblocked.

Greece dropped the charges against them last week.

Euro zone finance ministers will gather on Monday in Brussels for a regular meeting where Greece is not on the agenda, suggesting that pending issues will be solved before the meeting.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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