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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020

Juncker hails "unique opportunity" as Greece gets new bailout funds

Eurozone members have agreed to release the first €39.4 billion of funds under Greece’s second bailout programme.

Image: Virginia Mayo/AP

THE PRESIDENT of the group of eurozone finance ministers has hailed a “unique opportunity” for Greece, as member states signed off on releasing almost €40 billion of new bailout funds to the Greek government.

The €39.4 billion agreed upon by eurozone ministers will be disbursed in several tranches, with a significant advance being used by Greece to pay off a bond which matures later this month.

The funds make up less than a third of the €130 billion which was agreed for distribution by eurozone member states two weeks ago, pending completion of a deal to burn Greek senior bondholders which was cleared last week.

In a statement confirming the funds, Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker said the second programme “constitutes a unique opportunity for Greece that should not be missed”.

“The Greek authorities should therefore continue demonstrating strong commitment and to keep up the implementation momentum by rigorously pursuing the adjustment effort in the areas of fiscal consolidation, structural reforms and privatisation, strictly in line with the new programme,” the Luxembourg prime minister added.

“This will allow the Greek economy to return to a sustainable path, which is in the interest of everyone.”

The theoretical cost of borrowing to the Greek government continued to fall today, with the country paying around 18.25 per cent interest for a 10-year loan, exactly half the 36.5 per cent it was asked to pay last Friday.

Read: Fitch ratings agency upgrades Greece

More: Greek deal is ‘a credit event’ triggering potential $3bn pay out

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Gavan Reilly

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