The EU has approved a bridge loan of 7.16 billion euros ($7.76 billion) for Greece, giving the debt-stricken country breathing room to push ahead with its bid for a third bailout. The short-term financial assistance, made under the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM), will have a maximum maturity of three months and be delivered in two installments, the Council of Europe said in a statement. "This agreement, backed by 28 European Union Member States, prevents Greece from an immediate default. It means that €7.16 billion will reach Greece on time, by Monday," Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commission vice-president for the euro, said in a statement. Greece has a €4.2 billion debt-related payment due to the European Central Bank on Monday, and is in arrears on payments to the International Monetary Fund. The bridging loan "will allow Greece to clear its arrears with the IMF and the Bank of Greece and to repay the ECB, until Greece would start receiving financing under a new [bailout program] from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM)," the Council of the EU said in a statement.
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