– Greece received new aid from other eurozone countries Thursday, allowing it to meet the deadline for a crucial payment to the European Central Bank and to narrowly avoid defaulting on its debt.

The release of 13 billion euros ($14.4 billion) is part of 86 billion euros in new aid to Greece that cleared the last remaining political hurdles on Wednesday, including approval by the German parliament. The European Stability Mechanism, the agency responsible for administering aid money on behalf of the 19 countries in the eurozone, said Thursday that it had approved giving Greece 13 billion euros immediately in order to meet obligations to the central bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Greece must pay 3.2 billion euros that is due Thursday on government bonds held by the ECB. Failure to pay would have put Greece into default and provoked another crisis.

Most of the 86 billion euros in new aid will be used to repay existing debt rather than to rebuild the shattered Greek economy, leading to criticism that eurozone creditors are repeating the same austerity policies that delivered six years in a row of recession in Greece. In order to qualify for the aid, Greece had to agree to maintain strict discipline while carrying out a long list of changes intended to improve the functioning of its economy.

New York Times