BRUSSELS — In a story July 8 about (topic), The Associated Press reported erroneously that Greece's recession began in 2007. The correct year was 2008.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Greece approved to get next rescue loan payments
Greece to get $8.7 billion in rescue loans in coming months, even though reforms are slow
By SARAH DiLORENZO and RAF CASERT
BRUSSELS (AP) — Greece secured a much-needed 6.8 billion euros ($8.7 billion) in rescue loans Monday after squeaking by an inspection from its international creditors, who are demanding it slash thousands of civil servant jobs and government spending.
Experts from the European Central Bank, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund said Greece's finances are improving, although they warned that it is making reforms too slowly and that the outlook for its economy, which has been in recession since 2008, remains uncertain.
But the so-called troika of creditors still recommended that the next loan payments be made, and the finance ministers from the 17 countries that use the euro agreed. Belgian Finance Minister Koen Geens said the loans would be divided into three groups and disbursed in July, August and October.
"Greece is getting on track," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said as he left the meeting in Brussels. "It is not easy for them."
After years of overspending, Greece nearly went bankrupt and is now surviving on rescue loans. To ensure that the government keeps up with the reforms it promised in exchange for 240 billion euros in bailout loans, its creditors turn over the funds slowly — and only after rigorous assessments of the country's progress.
Greece's creditors said the country's reform program remained "broadly in line" with projections. It also laid out the hope of a gradual return to growth next year.
However, it added that "the outlook remains uncertain." Greece has been hammered by a financial crisis since 2009 and is in the sixth year of a deep recession.
The troika said "policy implementation is behind in some areas" and that the Greek authorities have said they will do more to ensure delivery of the fiscal targets for 2013-14, noting in particular efforts to restrict overspending in the health sector.
"In short, it is time to step up the momentum of reform in Greece, support the return of confidence for the sake of sustainable growth and job creation," said the EU's monetary affairs commissioner, Olli Rehn.
Greece is stuck in a years-long recession and unemployment has spiraled to above 27 percent, in part because of the reforms and austerity measures it is implementing.
The troika said the government has also "committed to take steps to bring public administration reforms back on track," including reducing the number of civil servants, one of the measures that has been among the most contentious in Greece's reform program.
"Firing civil servants is always difficult, that is difficult in every country, certainly in such economic circumstances," said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who is head of the eurogroup meeting and Dutch finance minister.