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article imageEurozone to reward Greece for controversial reforms: sources

By AFP     Jan 19, 2018 in World

Greece on Friday won a green light for more bailout cash from its eurozone creditors after pushing through a wave of controversial reforms that drew angry strikes and protests earlier this week.

A meeting of senior officials from the 19 countries that make up the single currency bloc rubber-stamped the reforms, which will now go to finance ministers on Monday for a formal decision to disburse bailout loans.

"There was a political agreement for the conclusion of the third review, the necessary step to disburse to Greece," a European source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

A senior eurozone official said the amount of the disbursement is expected to be a more than expected 6.7 billion euros and will be paid in instalments.

Over 6,000 people demonstrated in Athens on Monday against the set of 100-odd reforms, which include a politically-charged curb on industrial action.

The eurozone approved the vast majority of the reforms, and the payout will be contingent on Greece tying up the remaining, more technical reforms swiftly.

Apart from requiring much larger quorums for unions to call strike action, the reforms also allow for the foreclosure and auction of properties owned by bankrupted borrowers.

Both measures were fiercely opposed by leftists and trade unions.

The government insists that the changes are limited, and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rejected criticism "as a shameless lie" that his left-wing administration was out to make strikes illegal.

Debt-laden Greece has received three multi-billion-euro bailouts since 2010.

The third rescue programme, financially supported by eurozone states but not the International Monetary Fund, runs to August this year and Athens then hopes to fully return to market financing.

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