Austria Finance Mininister says Greek bailout tranche likely
Oct 2, 2011, 2:19 a.m.
BERLIN (Reuters) - Greece will most likely receive the next tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan in October, Austria's Finance Minister Maria Fekter was quoted telling German newspaper Welt am Sonntag on Sunday.
"The probability that the next 8-billion euro ($10.7 billion) tranche will be released to Greece is in my view clearly higher than the likelihood of it not being paid out," Fekter told the Sunday newspaper.
She said that she expected Greece would eventually fulfil conditions needed to release the tranche, the sixth.
Without the release of the 8 billion euro tranche of the EU bailout, massively indebted Greece could run out of money to pay state wage bills within weeks.
European officials are scrambling to avert a Greek debt default, which could wreck the balance sheets of European banks, damage the prospects of the euro single currency and possibly plunge the world into a new global financial crisis.
Negotiators from the International Monetary Fund, European Union and European Central Bank, known as the troika, have returned to Athens after walking out of talks a month ago, and have met Greek officials for the past four days.
To persuade the troika to release the loans, the government has promised to introduce new taxes, cut state wages by an average of 20 percent and reduce the number of public sector workers by a fifth by 2015.
The austerity measures are deeply unpopular, and public sector unions hope that strikes and demonstrations can wreck the Socialist government's resolve to enact them.
(Reporting By Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by Robert Birsel)