The eurozone finance ministers will take a final decision on the second bailout package for Greece at their meeting in Brussels on Monday,Chairman of the euro group Jean-Claude Juncker has said.
Greece has made “substantial progress” towards fulfilling the conditions set by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to receive the proposed 130 billion euro (USD 170 billion) financial rescue package,which was offered by the EU leaders last October to avert a bankruptcy and to help stabilise the nation¿s crippled economy.
“On the basis of the facts that are currently on the table,I am quite confident that the euro group can take the necessary decisions on February 20,” Juncker said in a press statement at the conclusion of a three-hour conference call of the finance ministers.
Earlier,the leaders of Greece’s main political parties bowed to the pressure from the EU and the IMF and sent to the European Commission their written commitments that they will implement the latest austerity package endorsed by the Greek parliament on Sunday night regardless who will come to power after the parliamentary election in April.
This was one of the conditions set by the EU and the IMF to approve the second financial assistance package,which Greece needs urgently to avoid a default on repaying 14.5 million debts due on March 20.
The Greek government met another condition by conveying to the EU exactly how it will make additional savings to fill a gap of 325 million euros in its planned savings this year.
The government’s controversial austerity package,which was passed by the parliament in Athens amidst massive protests from the public and the trade unions,seeks to save 3.3 billion euros this year through drastic cuts in minimum wages and pensions,freezing of salaries and axing of 15,000 public sector jobs.
He said more work will be needed to strengthen the surveillance of how Greece will implement the austerity measures. An agreement between the Greek government and its private creditors on reducing its massive debts by around 100 billion euros through a debt buy-back scheme is still pending,but media reports said Greece may announce a deal with its private creditors if the euro zone finance ministers approve the second rescue package on Monday. There has been a basic understanding between the Greek government and its private creditors on the proposed debt swap,but the extent of debt write-down and some other many details are yet to be agreed upon,the reports said.