Greece 'more likely than not' to get next aid slice: Austria

2nd October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Debt-wracked Greece will more likely than not receive the next tranche of bailout cash it needs to stave off bankruptcy, Austria's finance minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.

"The likelihood that the next eight-billion-euro ($11-billion) slice of aid will be paid out to Greece is, in my view, clearly higher than the likelihood it will not be paid," Maria Fekter told Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

She said Greece would fulfil the strict conditions set down by international auditors to secure the aid, the sixth tranche of a 110-billion-euro bailout package, as Athens says it can only pay the bills until the end of the month.

"I assume that the people and government in Greece have understood how serious the situation is for them and how determined the Europeans are," she added, calling for the authorities in Athens to play by the rules.

"It should not be the case that the payment of individual tranches of aid become a battle every three months because Greece threatens to fall short of the conditions," she said.

In a speech in Berlin on Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou hailed his country's "superhuman effort" in tackling its debt pile, amid growing social unrest as painful austerity measures bite.

Inspectors from the European Union and International Monetary Fund returned to Athens on Thursday, four weeks after they abruptly left, disappointed at the lack of progress made in implementing the promised reforms.

The auditors spent the weekend trying to obtain the most up-to-date picture of Greece's finances and forecasts, after protests, including staff occupations of ministries, meant a slow resumption of negotiations last week.

Eurozone finance ministers are due to meet in Luxembourg on Monday to discuss the Greek debt crisis and reach an agreement on the payment of the 8-billion-euro bailout tranche, which the IMF has blocked for a month.

© 2011 AFP

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