Greece's international lenders, the so-called troika, have given the country a positive assessment in their long-awaited report. But, EU leaders still aren't sure whether they should give Greece more money.
In an unexpected announcement on Monday, the chief of the Eurogroup told reporters that the troika - a committee comprised of the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund - had finally released its report on Greece's financial situation. The news arrived just a few hours before European Union finance ministers were scheduled to meet in Brussels to debate whether to approve the next installment of aid to Greece.
"The troika report is fundamentally positive, because the Greeks have really delivered," Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker, who is also Luxembourg's prime minister, told reporters in Brussels.
"Greece is on track to meet its commitments step by step," he said.
In order to be eligible to receive the next installment, worth 31.5 billion euros ($40 billion), Greece had to prove it could implement austerity measures that could lower the country's debt significantly by the next decade. Greece passed a series of unpopular austerity measures last week, which drew widespread protests across Athens.
A positive report from the troika was also a precondition for the next tranche of bailout money.
Troika report not enough
Although the good news shed a positive light on the efforts of Greek politicians to cooperate with its lenders, leaders in the European Union have said they must also take other factors into consideration before helping Greece.
"There won't be any definitive decisions today, but I think the general feeling is that we would like the next disbursement to be done in the most efficient way possible," said Juncker.
Eurozone finance ministers were scheduled to meet in Brussels later on Monday in order to discuss the troika's assessment - which they had not expected to be delivered in time for their meeting - in addition to whether Greece should be given two extra years to stabilize its finances.
Other topics for debate included Greece's ability to lower its deficit to 120 percent of the GDP by 2020. Recent data released by the EU last week projected Greece's deficit to reach 190 percent of the GDP in 2014.
Following the meetings, the finance minister are to send their recommendations to the individual eurozone country parliaments, including Germany, who must then vote on whether to grant Greece more aid.
Greek officials have said that without a bailout, the country will run out of money by mid-November.
kms/dr (dpa, Reuters)