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Posted on Dec 14, 06:33AM | IANS
Eurozone finance ministers approved a 49.1 billion-euro (USD 64 billion) rescue package for Greece at their meeting Thursday, to keep Athens' debt-saddled economy afloat.
Of these funds, 34.3 billion euro will be released within the next few days while the remaining fund will be disbursed in the first quarter of 2013, said European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn.
Eurogroup President Jean Claude Juncker said 16 billion euro would be spent on recapitalising Greek banks, seven billion euro on support for the country's budget and 11.3 billion euro on a sovereign bond buyback.
Greece has been receiving bailout loans since May 2010, and to date Europe and the IMF have given the country nearly 149 billion euro (USD 191 billion) of the 240 billion euro promised.
On Nov 8, the Greek parliament passed a highly unpopular austerity bill, setting out 13.5 billion euro in spending cuts, as well as tax hikes and labor reforms by 2016 as demanded by the troika (the European Union, the IMF and the European Central Bank) to reduce the country's debt and deficit.