Greece secured a much-needed 6.8 billion euros ($8.7 billion) in rescue loans Monday after squeaking by an inspection from its international creditors, who are demanding it slash thousands of civil servant jobs and government spending.
Experts from the European Central Bank, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund said Greece’s finances are improving, although they warned that it is making reforms too slowly and that the outlook for its economy, which has been in recession since 2007, remains uncertain.
But the so-called troika of creditors still recommended that the next loan payments be made, and the finance ministers from the 17 countries that use the euro agreed. Belgian Finance Minister Koen Geens said the loans would be divided into three groups and disbursed in July, August and October.
“Greece is getting on track,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said as he left the meeting in Brussels. “It is not easy for them.”
After years of overspending, Greece nearly went bankrupt and is now surviving on rescue loans. To ensure that the government keeps up with the reforms it promised in exchange for 240 billion euros in bailout loans, its creditors turn over the funds slowly — and only after rigorous assessments of the country’s progress.
Greece’s creditors said the country’s reform program remained “broadly in line” with projections. It also laid out the hope of a gradual return to growth next year.