BRUSSELS, December 13 (RIA Novosti) – Eurozone finance ministers approved a 49.1 billion-euro ($64 billion) rescue package for Greece at their meeting on Thursday, to keep Athens’ debt-saddled economy afloat.
Of these funds, 34.3 billion euros will be released within the next few days while the remaining funds will be disbursed in the first quarter of 2013, European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said.
Eurogroup President Jean Claude Juncker said 16 billion euros would be spent on recapitalizing Greek banks, 7 billion euros on support for the country’s budget and 11.3 billion euros on a sovereign bond buyback.
Greece has been receiving bailout loans since May 2010, and to date Europe and the IMF have given the country nearly 149 billion euros ($191 billion) of the 240 billion euros promised.
On November 8 the Greek parliament passed a highly unpopular austerity bill, setting out 13.5 billion euros in spending cuts, as well as tax hikes and labor reforms by 2016 as demanded by the troika (the European Union, the IMF and the European Central Bank) to reduce the country’s debt and deficit