The Eurozone on Monday (23 November) gave a green light to a two billion euro payment to Greece after the Greek government had succeeded to meet the strict reform commitments demanded by international creditors. The payment demonstrates that the relations between Brussels and Athens have significantly improved after half a year of fighting which could have resulted in the Grexit. According to Klaus Regling, head of the rescue fund, the decision “to disburse 2 billion euros of ESM (Eurozone bailout) funds reflects the Greek government’s commitment to the program as it implemented an extensive list of essential reforms”.
The Greek leftist government has been pushing a bailout reform vote through parliament in order to win a tranche from the 86-billion-euro bailout, which is the country’s third payment in five years. The Eurozone ministers embraced the introduction of the new reform measures, which were also a prerequisite for unlocking 10 billion euros to help with the capitalization of Greece’s top banks. “This is an important step towards addressing the main challenges that the Greek economy is facing and towards restoring it to a sustainable path,” the ministers said in a joint statement after the negotiations.
Athens now needs the remaining one billion euros so that it can finalize its first review from the bailout, which is to last three days. When this is achieved, Greece can begin extremely controversial negotiations on decreasing its huge public debt. In the meantime, bailout-tired countries, like Germany, are increasing their opposition to Greece’s piling debt. Greek Prime Minister Tsipras agreed to accept the bailout deal conditions in summer this year including major cuts in public spending.