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6.3 billion euro aid package approved

Greece planned to press its case for further debt relief in a meeting of senior euro-area finance officials today, pushing its creditors to make good on their promise to act after its debt mountain rose to a record, two European officials said before the gathering in Brussels.

The Eurogroup Working Group, which prepares meetings of euro-zone finance ministers, already approved an aid payment of 6.3 billion euros, one of the officials said during the talks, asking not to be named because the discussions are private.

The government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has met the budget goal its euro-zone partners set as a condition for discussing further assistance, the European Commission confirmed yesterday. Greece recorded a primary budget surplus, which excludes interest and one-time payments, of 1.5 billion euros last year.

While finance ministers could kick-start discussions on easing Greece’s debt burden, which reached 175.1 percent of GDP in 2013, at their next meeting on May 5, commission spokesman Simon O’Connor said yesterday that the matter would probably not to be taken up until the second half of the year. Greece has already received 240 billion euros of aid pledges.