Greek premier says first loans expected within 'days'

Greek premier says first loans expected within 'days'

Greek Prime Minister George A. Papandreou gives a press conference after an extraordinary European Union summit at the European Council headquarters in Brussels on Friday. AFP

"In the following days, Greece will receive the first tranche of the 110 billion euros from the EU and the IMF," Papandreou said after an emergency late-night summit of euro leaders.
"This will allow us to implement our (austerity) programme and our reforms," he underlined.
Greece has said it needs nine billion euros by May 19 to service existing debts.

"We've taken difficult decisions," Papandreou said, referring to a three-year programme of cuts and tax raises that the Greek parliament passed on Thursday amid violent protests that claimed the lives of three people in a firebombed Athens bank the previous day.
He said these decisions had been taken for Greece and also "for Europe."

"Today's meeting marks the final stage of this process," he said.Papandreou acknowledged that the urgent eurozone talks, which will be carried forward at a Sunday meeting of the 27 European Union finance ministers, "re-confirmed that the need to safeguard the eurozone goes beyond Greece's problems."

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