March 11, 2019 / 7:45 PM / 12 days ago

Greece to get euro zone money in April if all reforms done: Centeno

FILE PHOTO: Portugal's Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Mario Centeno attends a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers could grant Greece close to one billion euros in April if Athens completes by then the reforms agreed with creditors, top euro zone officials said on Monday.

“If all reform commitments are met, the Eurogroup will in April consider the implementation of further debt relief measures,” the head of euro zone finance ministers Mario Centeno told a news conference.

“There are still a couple of points where details need to be fleshed out. The main outstanding issue is a potential new scheme for the protection of primary residences,” he said.

Greece has so far completed 13 out of the 16 promised reforms, the European Commission said.

Under the debt relief deal struck with euro zone creditors in June 2018, Greece is to receive every six months profits that euro zone central banks have made on their Greek bond portfolios and from waiving the step up margin on some euro zone loans.

But the cash can only be transferred to Greece if the country delivers on all promised reforms and does not backtrack on any of the earlier changes.

The head of the euro zone bailout fund ESM, Klaus Regling, told the news conference that in total the profits from Greek bond portfolios and the waiving of the step up margin amounted to 974 million euros ($1.1 billion).

“This is not a new ESM loan,” Regling said. “These are commitments made by the Eurogroup in the context of the medium term debt measures last June and these are grants for Greece.”

“This will continue every six months ... until 2022,” he said.

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Mark Potter

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