BERLIN (Reuters) - Greece will receive its next tranche of international aid despite budget shortfalls and slow progress on reforms because the euro zone does not want the country to leave the common currency, two German magazines reported on Saturday.
Athens will resume talks with the ‘troika’ of international lenders next week on a tranche worth 31 billion euros ($39.88 billion) needed to avert bankruptcy and a possible euro zone exit.
The Greek government needs a deal so it can push an austerity package through parliament before the next meeting of Eurogroup finance ministers on October 8.
“The Greeks will receive a list of reforms which must be approved by their parliament by a fixed date. The money will be released as soon as lawmakers have voted,” a Eurogroup source told the Wirtschaftswoche business weekly.
It did not say what new reforms would be proposed but said the euro zone was now focused on avoiding a Greek exit.
“The fear of a ‘domino effect’ in the euro zone is too great (not to release the funds),” a senior EU official told the weekly, referring to possible contagion to other heavily indebted states such as Spain if Greece were to default.
A second report in the Focus magazine, citing sources in the European Parliament, also said Greece would receive its tranche.
“The report being drawn up by the ‘troika’ will turn out in such a way that the money can be paid out,” it said.
The troika comprises the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
Asked to comment on the reports, a German finance ministry spokesman said there had been no change in the situation and that the Berlin government was still awaiting the troika report on Greece.
Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and paymaster, has long criticized Greece’s failure to sort out its public finances and restructure its economy, but Chancellor Angela Merkel and senior members of her center-right coalition have recently started to stress the dangers of pushing Athens out of the euro zone.
Greece, in its fifth year of recession, wants a two-year extension of its bailout plan, something its finance minister has said would cost up to 15 billion euros of extra funding.
($1 = 0.7773 euros)
Reporting by Gareth Jones and Michael Nienaber