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BRUSSELS, June 8 The time has come for euro zone
lenders to provide Greece with new loans, a vice-president of
the European Commission said on Thursday, a week before euro
zone finance ministers meet to discuss the Greek bailout
A deal next week on unblocking new loans for Greece is seen
as crucial to prevent Athens from defaulting on debts due in
Representatives of euro zone states are meeting on Thursday
in Slovenia to try to overcome a months-long stalemate over the
Greek programme, before finance ministers hold a regular meeting
in Luxembourg on June 15.
"It's time to move with the next disbursement," Valdis
Dombrovskis told a news conference in Brussels, stressing that
Greece had already met its fiscal and reform obligations for the
funds to be disbursed.
Dombrovskis said delays in unblocking loans to Greece, part
of its 86-billion-euro ($96.6 billion) bailout programme, have
already hit confidence in the Greek economy.
The disbursement of new loans has been linked to the
International Monetary Fund's participation in the aid
programme. This has not been agreed yet due to differences
between the IMF and some euro zone lenders on debt relief
measures for Greece and its long-term financial stability.
Dombrovskis said debt relief measures were being discussed,
but insisted the priority was to disburse new loans to Greece.
($1 = 0.8902 euros)
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by
Philip Blenkinsop and Gareth Jones)