Additional bailout funding on the way to Greece

02/04/2014

Reforms allow Athens to tap into bailout money set aside by international lenders. In other business news: Improved economic conditions allow Cyprus to drop its ceiling on daily cash withdrawals.
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Greek Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras speaks to reporters on Tuesday (April 1st) as he arrives for a meeting of European and eurozone finance ministers in Athens. [AFP]

Greece's parliament approved a series of structural reforms that will allow the disbursement of another 8.3 billion euros from the country's 172 billion euro bailout package. Measures include cutting costs on state healthcare and liberalisation of tightly controlled products and services.

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An excise tax on gasoline and cigarettes took effect April 1st in Romania. The measures are intended to bring additional revenues to the state budget.

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Albania and Kosovo signed an agreement to build a new 110-kilowatt power line between Kukes and Prizren. The initiative is part of the two countries' effort to establish a common energy market.

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Cyprus dropped the 300 euro daily ceiling on cash withdrawals that was introduced a year ago as part of the country's bailout efforts. The move was possible due to the overall stabilisation and restoration of confidence in the banking system, officials said.

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Serbian air carrier Air Serbia introduced regular flights from Belgrade to Sofia and Bucharest. The new flights became effective on March 30th. The lowest round trip fare is about 90 euros.

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The IMF said Montenegro's economy will probably grow by 2.7 percent in 2014, a slowing from its 3.5 percent growth last year. In a statement after a two-day visit to the country, IMF officials outlined high non-performing loans and weak credit activities as some of the most serious problems hampering future growth.

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The Turkish economy grew by 4 percent last year, official data showed. The growth came despite political unrest and severe tensions on the Turkish financial markets and was registered after an unexpectedly strong fourth quarter. Still, analysts have warned of a possible slowdown due to political uncertainty and tightening credit.

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The IMF approved the first and second review of Romania's aid deal. This means the country is on track with conditions of its 4 billion euro agreement with the IMF and the European Commission. With the move, 436 million euros will be available to Romania.

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Bulgaria had the lowest hourly labour costs in the EU last year, but at the same time registered in the highest increase in the segment since 2008 (44.1 percent), Eurostat data showed. Hourly labour costs in the country in 2013 were 3.7 euros.

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Albania's government will repay $350 million -- about half of its debt load to businesses -- in the next three months, Finance Minister Shkelqim Cani said. He added the aim is to spur economic growth.

(Various sources -- 27/03/14-02/04/14)

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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