Greece will get a vital loan installment by July 15 while work continues on a second bailout for the struggling country, EU finance ministers said Saturday.
The ministers signed off their portion of the $16.8 billion loan in an evening conference call. The International Monetary Fund is expected to approve its part of the loan next week.
The ministers also reiterated that they would continue to support Greece beyond the $154-billion bailout package that was granted last year, but left a final decision on the new aid plan until the involvement of banks and other private creditors has been figured out.
"The precise modalities and scale of private sector involvement and additional funding from official sources will be determined in the coming weeks," the ministers said.
Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said in a statement that his colleagues had committed to getting the new support ready ahead of time for the next installment of the existing bailout in September.
Eurozone ministers stressed, however, that the new support would be conditioned on "continued strong commitment to implementing fiscal consolidation measures as well as ambitious and concrete structural reform and privatization plans," setting the stage for further dramatic showdowns with Greek authorities, who have been struggling to hit targets set out in the original bailout program.
The release of the fifth portion of the bailout money was preceded by weeks of back and forth between the Greek government and the country's international creditors, which culminated in the Greek parliament reluctantly passing new austerity measures earlier this week.
In his statement, Venizelos stressed that Greece was able to get the money because his Socialist party managed to push the measures through parliament.
"What is crucial now is to implement the parliament's decisions swiftly and effectively so that we can gradually get out of the crisis to the benefit of the Greek economy and its citizens," he said.