Greece secures €6.8bn more in bailout funds


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The Independent Online

The Greek government has passed another crucial hurdle in its bailout programme after it secured €6.8billion (£5.8billion) from international bailout lenders. The money, which will be allocated from the troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), comes after an agreement on further cuts to the public payroll across the country.

Finance ministers meeting in Brussels said €2.5bn (£2.1billion) would come from the eurozone rescue fund and €1.5bn (£1.29billion) from the ECB. The payments are likely to be made this month,  while another €500m from the rescue fund, plus €500m from the ECB, will follow later this year.

Then the IMF will loan €1.8bn, bringing the overall total to €6.8bn. However, the loans are contingent on Greece making progress with its reform programme, which has been a huge source of social contention across the country. Greece's creditors have warned that reforms are behind schedule, especially the privatisation of state assets. Last month, the sell-off of the country’s public gas company collapsed.

Around 25,000 civil servants will be put on reduced salaries, before either being dismissed or redeployed. That will add to the nation's unemployment rate which already stands at 27 per cent. On Monday thousands of Greek municipal workers and school teachers took to the streets of Athens in protest against public-sector layoffs.

Public unrest has led to political instability, and four different Greek governments in as many years.