Saturday 16 December 2017

Euro zone to unlock Greek loans today as Sinn Fein claim rebutted


Donal O'Donovan

LOANS to Greece are likely to be unlocked today when eurozone finance ministers hold a teleconference due to release billions of euros to the country.

Ministers from the 17-nation eurozone had been scheduled to meet late tomorrow to agree to release monies pledged to Greece but sources said the talks would instead take place by phone or video conference today.

After Greece's Parliament met demands from its international lenders to adopt a tough package of austerity measures this week, the weekend meeting is expected to agree to release a fifth €12bn slice pledged under last year's €110bn bailout of Greece by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Greece may receive as much as €85bn in new financing, including a contribution from private investors, in a second bailout, according to an Austrian Finance Ministry official, Bloomberg reported.

SF claim

Meanwhile, the European Commission has rubbished claims by a Sinn Fein TD that it has increased the interest rate being charged for Ireland's bailout loans.

It comes after Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty said in the Dail that the interest rate on loans from the European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM) portion of the EU/IMF programme had increased by 1pc.

Though he was not named, last night's statement from the Commission effectively said the deputy did not understand how the interest on Irish bailout loans was set.

"There appears to be some confusion regarding the calculation of interest rates being charged on some of the loans to Ireland from the EU/IMF Programme for Financial Assistance," the statement said.

Ireland is paying 5.425pc interest for money borrowed from the EFSM in January but 6.425pc interest on money the fund raised in May.

The Commission said that different interest rates applied because Ireland borrowed for five years in January but 10 years in June. "Loans with longer maturity are more expensive," the Commission added.

Irish Independent

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