After months of arduous negotiations EU finance ministers finally gave the green light to the second, 130 billion euro bailout package for Greece late on Monday. The aid will be formally approved on March 14.
The country is to receive 100 billion euros from the EFSF in several payments throughout a period of three years, with the first one to be released this month. On March 15 the IMF is still supposed to hold a vote on its contribution to the rescue.
Luxembourg PM Jean-Claude Juncker who chaired the meeting confirmed that the bailout plan was already under way, “politically adopted” by the Eurogroup. Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos expressed his satisfaction with this outcome and stressed Greece's firm commitment to implementing the austerity plan which will not be shaken by the upcoming elections.
The International Monetary Fund will be discussing a third bailout for Greece at its meeting later this week, former IMF first deputy managing director John Lipsky told CNBC on Monday.
When asked whether another bailout for Greece was under discussion Lipsky said: "There is a program that has been discussed and is up for agreement and approval. This is the program that they're discussing."
Lipsky said Greece needs to be more effectively integrated into the euro zone and that the "most important thing for Greece is structural reforms to make that economy more productive and effective".
He also said that the G20 have been working behind the scenes to provide a framework for strong, sustainable, and balanced growth, and a mutual assessment process to implement a set of coherent international policies.
Spain faces a tighter deficit target
Earlier on Monday EU finance ministers demanded from Spain a more substantial reduction of deficit than to what the country had previously agreed. The Eurogroup established a new deficit target of 5.3% versus the 5.8% set by the country's PM Mariano Rajoy two weeks ago.
According to the statement issued after the meeting: “The Eurogroup assesses that the timely correction of the excessive deficit should be ensured by an additional frontloaded effort of the order of 0,5% of GDP, beyond what has already been announced by the Spanish authorities so far, and by an early adoption and strict implementation of the new mechanisms in the Budget Stability Law on the monitoring and control of budget compliance at different levels of government."
“We stressed the importance of substantial progress made with structural reforms to boost employment and growth so far, which would need to be complemented with further efforts in the areas of product and service markets.”
This places Spain in a tough situation as its unemployment has already reached 23%, which is the highest level in the EU, and the economy is expected to enter recession this year.