Greek authorities are working with European Union officials but further progress is needed, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Monday evening after the end of a session of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels.
He added that the next aid tranche to Greece could be disbursed within the current year, provided that the country met the last prior action of the third assessment of its new programme, i.e. the restructuring of its defence industries.
As for the fourth assessment, Mr. Dijsselbloem said that this will almost certainly be rolled over to next year.
"We are aware of the difficulties and know how sensitive the political situation in the country is," Dijsselbloem said, noting that austerity measures understandably created social tensions. He stressed, however, that there were still some structural actions which should be advanced and completed.
"It is certain that the new measures do not help defuse social tensions and therefore we are not asking for anything more than what has been agreed upon," the Eurogroup president commented.
For his part, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn said that the troika representatives were expecting the Greek Parliament to ratify several legislative arrangements by the end of the year. He underlined that the efforts made by Greece and the Greek people had enabled the country to tackle some of its major problems and get back on a path to growth.
However, the reforms agreed upon should move forward decisively, Rehn concluded.
Also, European Stability Mechanism (EMS) CEO Klaus Regling said that the 1 billion euro tranche to Greece could be paid out by the end of the year.
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