Greece is due to receive the first tranche of a 110bn-euro ($136bn; £94bn) loan to help it overcome its debt crisis, the European Union has said. EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said 20bn euros from the EU and the International Monetary Fund would be transferred. The bail-out package for Athens was agreed earlier this month. On Monday, Eurozone finance ministers said the euro was a credible currency, despite its slide against the dollar.
The European single currency fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 2006, amid concerns that debt problems will undermine Europe's recovery. In a separate development on Monday, a tax scandal led to the dismissal of Greek Deputy Tourism Minister Angela Gerekou. She was forced to go after a newspaper revealed that her husband, a popular singer, owed more than 5m euros in unpaid taxes and fines. Ms Gerekou, a political protegee of Prime Minister George Papandreou, had filed joint tax declarations with her husband for years.
"The first tranche of the financial assistance for Greece is being transferred today... and the IMF will do its part in parallel," Mr Rehn said at the talks of Eurozone finance ministers in Brussels. "This is altogether 20bn euros ($24.7bn), out of which 14.5bn are from euro area member states and 5.5bn euros are from the IMF," the commissioner added. In return for the loan, the government in Athens is trying to make major austerity cuts - a move which has outraged the public and led to violent clashes in the capital. But Mr Rehn praised the crisis measures taken by Greece and also Spain and Portugal - two other countries in financial difficulties.