Troika concludes Greek bailout review, next aid tranche soon: source

Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:16pm EDT
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By Annika Breidthardt and Renee Maltezou

DUBLIN/ATHENS (Reuters) - An inspection team of international lenders has finished its review of Greece's austerity program, paving the way for another 10 billion euros aid payment, a source with knowledge of the talks said on Saturday.

The deal reached on Friday, concludes the first review by the so-called "troika" of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank since they unlocked fresh aid in December, staving off a chaotic bankruptcy.

In exchange for the December deal in Greece's 240-billion euro bailout, Athens passed a fresh round of austerity measures.

"The third review mission of the program was completed last night in Athens with a staff level agreement," one delegate with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters.

The official added the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers and the IMF's board would each likely discuss the agreement in May, a condition for the money to actually be paid.

Klaus Regling, the head of the euro zone's rescue funds, said on Friday the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), under which Greece's rescue is handled, stood ready to disburse 10 billion euros ($13 billion) to Athens once conditions were met.

"Greece would get 2.8 billion euros after the milestones have been met. In addition, 7.2 billion (euros are) available in bonds to recapitalize the banks. This is based on a tranche already approved last December," he told reporters.

Greece has received about 200 billion euros in rescue loans since its first bailout in May in 2010. But despite imposing a 75-percent debt cut on private-sector bondholders and receiving debt relief from its official lenders last year, it is still far from a return to the bond markets.   Continued...

A huge Euro logo is pictured past the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt, September 29, 2011. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski