|Lenders agree to open Greece aid tap further
Key lenders reached a basic agreement on the next steps forward for its rescue program for Greece Wednesday in a long-delayed step that could free up fresh funds for Athens.
The International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, said the Greek government was committed to keeping the bank sector healthy.
“The mission and the authorities agreed that the economy is beginning to stabilize and is poised for a gradual resumption of growth,'' they said in a statement.
“Fiscal performance is on track to meet program targets.... The authorities are making progress on structural reforms to improve the growth potential and flexibility of the Greek economy.''
They said the government is committed to doing all that is necessary to ensure banks remain healthy and sufficiently capitalized.
But they warned that the banks still faced potential challenges to maintaining adequate levels of capital, “in particular, if the authorities and banks do not urgently and efficiently address the high level of non-performing loans.''
“Swift recapitalization of banks will strengthen their balance sheets,'' they said.
The agreement was done at the staff level after a review mission to the country that was expected to conclude around last September.
The statement said the Eurogroup and the IMF executive board would likely review the agreement “in the coming weeks.'' Approval would allow a fresh release of funds to Athens that will help it continue to bridge fiscal shortfalls while implementing more reforms required under the bailout program.—AFP