European bailout fund approves big payment to Greece

Europe's bailout fund has approved the payment of 8.5 billion euros ($9.6 billion) in rescue loans to Greece, a long-delayed installment under the country's third international bailout.

Friday's approval by the European Stability Mechanism was the final formality before the funds can be released to the debt-laden country. The first disbursement of 7.7 billion euros is to be made Monday, with 6.9 billion earmarked for servicing debts and the remainder for clearing arrears, the fund said.

Greece reached a deal with international lenders last month on implementing more austerity measures, including tax hikes and pension cuts, in return for the installment.

The disbursement of the remainder will come after Sept. 1 if Greece "makes significant progress" in clearing arrears using its own resources as well as bailout funds.