The Greek government and its international creditors have reached a deal allowing the pay-out of the next and final tranche of the country’s massive bailout. Athens says the payment doesn’t entail more austerity.
After seven months of drawn-out negotiations, the Greek government had secured emergency loans to the tune of 10.1 billion euros ($14 billion), Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in a televised address on Tuesday.
"Long negotiations have ended successfully and the government, united, carried out its mission, to lead the country out of the crisis," Samaras said after talks with representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), known as the troika of Greek lenders.
In Brussels, a spokesman for the EU Economy Commissioner Olli Rehn confirmed the outcome of the talks.
"I can inform to you that we have now agreed on all of the most important policy areas in the review of the Greek economic adjustment program," said spokesman Simon O'Conner.
According to Samaras, the pay-out of the final installment of a Greek bailout, worth a total of 240 billion euros, was not dependent on further cutbacks in government spending or any other austerity measures.
On the contrary, the government was allowed to spend a 500-million-euro primary surplus from the 2013 budget, Samaras said.
The sum, which counts Greece's budget surplus without interest payments on its massive debt, was to be distributed among an estimated 1 million people in need of financial assistance, he added.
Moreover, the prime minister announced a cut in employers' social security contributions in efforts to create new jobs and growth.
Negotiations between Greece and the troika have stalled since September 2013 because of a series of contentious issues, including mass layoffs in the Greek public sector, which were demanded by the troika, as well as labor market reforms.
On Tuesday, German news agency dpa reported that the two sides agreed to resolve contentious issues at a later date, possibly in autumn this year.
uhe/ccp (dpa, AP, Reuters)