Greece hopeful on new loan releases

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ATHENS: Greek officials said on Thursday that they were close to a deal with the country’s European Union-International Monetary Fund (EU-IMF) creditors, which would win approval for the next slice of eurozone loans next week.

Uncertainty over the outlook for the Greek debt-rescue program had begun to worry financial markets in the last few days.

“We need one or two more days,” Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis told To Vima radio, adding that there was a “pending” discussion over mass civil service layoffs.

“The civil service issue is still pending,” he added.


A few hours earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos also expressed hopes for a deal.

“I believe that we will reach a commonly acceptable phrasing and a deal that will allow the smooth disbursement of the loan installments,” Venizelos said after talks with visiting German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

Venizelos also holds the foreign ministry portfolio.

Greece must axe 4,000 state jobs by the end of the year and relocate 25,000 civil servants to support understaffed parts of its vast bureaucracy.

Efforts to earmark the relevant staff have been going on for months. But the new minister in charge of the issue, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, told the creditors this week that he needed more time for the necessary cuts.

“The evaluation for mobility is not yet over,” Mitsotakis told Skai television earlier this week.

“We need some months to do it right. We cannot enact horizontal measures, I’m not going to take an axe to the issue,” the minister added.

A Eurogroup meeting on July 8 will determine whether Greece can draw 6.3 billion euros ($8.2 billion) from its ongoing bailout.

The IMF is also scheduled to decide by the end of July whether to disburse its own scheduled contribution of 1.8 billion euros.

Since 2010, the EU and IMF have committed a total of 240 billion euros to the heavily indebted country.

AFP

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