(Greece) – Greece receives the first of the payments from the third bailout Greece has received since 2010, totaling 7.5 billion euros a few days ahead of schedule. It was predicted that the payment would come in sometime next week. The payment funds are timely since Greece needs the money to pay loan balances due to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.
The bailout was approved back in May after the Greek Parliament voted to accept a series of conditions and austerity measures required of them by the international creditors. Overall, the creditor’ goal for the country has been to reduced government spending and increase revenue coming into he government. Each payment from the bailout has a series of conditions and if these conditions aren’t met, Greece won’t have the money. In other words, agreeing to the conditions was the first step, but the international creditors needed to see that the measures were being implemented.
Currently, Greece owes its creditors at least 300 billion euros, which is 180% greater than the country’s GDP, or annual economic output. Many believe that in order for Greece to enter into a period of economic growth, it needs to find a way to shrink this debt. The European Stability Mechanism reviewed Greece’s information and deemed that the country has implemented all the changes required of them. They signed the paperwork to release the funds slightly ahead of schedule. Since voting on the austerity measures, Greece has implemented pension reforms, tax hikes, and has closed a privatization deal for the abandoned Hellinikon Airport in Athens.
Although the government looks at these bailout payments as necessary, the people of Greece are feeling the weight of economic uncertainty as the tax increases and pension reforms impact their cash flow. Strikes and protests have been taking place off and on since the austerity measures were announced.