4 Jun 2011

More funding promised for Greece

6:46 am on 4 June 2011

European officials have said Greece will receive the next instalment of its bail-out funding following a month-long inspection.

The European Union and the International Monetary Fund said the next tranche of a bail-out package worth 110 billion euro ($US159 billion) would be paid, most likely in July.

There had been fears that Greece had not been progressing fast enough with cuts and this would be delayed.

Earlier reports suggested that Greece had agreed in principle a new bail-out which would effectively supersede the existing EU and IMF bail-out.

A report in the Kathimerini newspaper said 85 billion euros would be provided, of which 30 - 40 billion would come as EU and IMF loans, with the rest coming from privatisation proceeds and from private sector debt relief.

The BBC reports that the original bail-out plan has been overtaken by events, leaving Greece desperately short of money again.

The plan had envisaged Greece returning to the financial markets to help fund its deficit from next year.

But two-year borrowing costs are currently at about 25% per year, and the market is effectively closed to Athens.

Earlier this week, Moody's cut its rating of Greece further.

The BBC reports Greece has failed to bring down its deficit as quickly as planned, largely because its economy remains in recession.

The government faces daily demonstrations by thousands of protesters against its existing plans.

Prime Minister George Papandreou also faces the risk of a backbench revolt over austerity moves.

A group of 16 MPs has written to him calling for a full party debate. The government has a majority of 12 in parliament.