Greece receives first 7.5 bn euros in new bailout

Greece received on Tuesday a first payout of 7.5 billion euros ($9.9 billion) under its second international bailout, a finance ministry official said.

Greece received 5.9 billion euros from the eurozone and 1.6 billion euros from the International Monetary Fund, said the official.

Following a debt swap with private creditors earlier this month that wiped some 100 billion euros off of Greece's debt, the eurozone approved a new rescue programme worth up to 130 billion euros.

The IMF followed up with a 28 billion euro package.

The funds are being disbursed in installments provided Greece meets agreed targets to cut its spending excesses and reform its economy.

Greece's parliament on Tuesday opened a session that was to end with a late night ratification of the loan deal between Athens and the eurozone.

The coalition government of caretaker Prime Minister Lucas Papademos controls a large majority in parliament and passage of the law is widely considered a formality.

The government has said that the public deficit for 2011, a key sign of the country's economic recovery closely monitored by its creditors, is expected to close at 9.2 percent of output.

The figure was included in a presentation by deputy finance minister Philippos Sachinidis to economists on Monday.

In January, the then development minister had put the 2011 deficit at 9.6 percent thanks to a successful absorption of European Union support funds.

Deficit reduction is a key requirement for the continued release of EU and IMF loans that are keeping the Greek economy on its feet.

Sachinidis, 49, is seen as a possible replacement for Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos who stepped down this week to lead the socialist Pasok party to early elections expected by early May.


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