Greece’s international creditors have agreed to hand it a further 6.3 billion euro in bailout funds, even as they warn the country faces an uncertain economic outlook.
Greece had sought release of more than $10 billion of its second rescue package to avoid defaulting on debts in the coming weeks. But eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels chose the smaller package and said it would be parceled out during the next three months.
The lenders – Greece’s European neighbors, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – said debt-ridden Greece is moving too slowly in carrying out the economic reforms it promised. Greece is mired in a six-year recession and the lenders said its economic prospects are uncertain.
Before the meeting of finance chiefs, international debt inspectors reached agreement with Athens on the dismissal of thousands of government workers by the end of 2013 in exchange for the new segment of the rescue package.
Several-thousand government workers, many of whom face layoffs in the coming months, protested in the streets of Athens against the job cutbacks.
One policeman, Iosif Tournas, blamed government officials for the country’s turmoil.
“The mistakes of those in power are being paid for by the people underneath them. Greece is not a business, it is our homeland.”