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Critical mass of Greek loans ready by mid-May-EU

Source: Reuters - Tue 4th May 2010

The euro zone will have a critical mass of funds ready for Greece by mid-May irrespective of possible delays in some national parliamentary procedures to approve the loans, the European Commission said on Tuesday.

"We will be ready on time to meet the needs of Greece in terms of refinancing. By mid-May there will be a critical mass," Commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj told a news briefing.

"Procedures in some euro area members will last longer than in others, but that was clear since the beginning."

Altafaj was responding to questions on euro zone member Slovakia, where parliament plans to vote on the country's share of the loans for Greece -- around 800 million euros out of a total of 110 billion euros -- only in June.

"It is clear that every euro zone member has to submit this to their parliament. The procedures are different. Most of them, if not all, are committed to use fast-track procedures for that," Altafaj said.

"This affects the disbursement of the national loans, but it does not affect the decision to activate the mechanism."

While no euro zone country can be forced to lend to Greece, no country can block others from lending either, a European Commission official said on Monday, on the condition of anonymity.

Greece needs 8.5 billion euros by May 19 to pay back maturing debt.

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