Greece may get bailout cash advance to pay bills: reports


Greece might receive 3.2 billion euros of earmarked rescue aid earlier than planned to cover part of its financing needs, two Greek newspapers reported on Saturday.

Greece received a clean bill of health from its international creditors earlier this month, securing a disbursement of at least 2.8 billion euros ($3.66 billion) in aid.

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The installment is expected to be approved later this month and Greece is scheduled to receive another 6 billion euro in EU/IMF funds in May. But Kathimerini and Ta Nea newspapers said that alongside that money Athens might also get a further 3.2 billion euros of EU aid, earmarked to help the country cover part its financing needs for the second quarter of the year.

The country's finance ministry declined to comment on the reports.

Athens has already obtained about 200 billion euros of rescue loans since mid-2010 and about 44 billion euro of aid remains to be disbursed.

The "troika" of creditors - the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank - concluded their review of Greece's bailout plan earlier this month and their next inspection is expected to take place in June.

By then, Greece must have carried out its first big privatizations and set out how it will cover a budget shortfall of 2 to 4 billion euros for the years 2015 and 2016.

Greece's coalition government has ruled out taking any new austerity measures and hopes that stronger-than-expected recovery will create enough revenue to make up for the shortfall. ($1 = 0.7644 euros)

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Toby Chopra)