FRANKFURT, Germany, July 16 (UPI) -- The European Central Bank offered Greece a vote of confidence Thursday in the form of an expanded line of credit to Greek banks.
The increase of 900 million euros ($981 million) could be seen as an indication the central bank intends to provide additional support to Greek banks while the government's bailout negotiations continue. Several leading officials, though, expressed doubts the Athens government was capable of seeing the reforms through.
Eurozone finance ministers, meeting in Brussels, agreed in principle to the bailout to begin talks on implementation of austerity measures by the Greek government in exchange for up to 86 billion Euros ($93.8 billion) in new loans. If the money is granted, the government could pay a late bill of two billion Euros ($2.18 billion) to the International Monetary Fund, as well as 4.25 billion Euros ($4.6 billion) owed the European Central Bank and due next week.
Formal discussions on starting bailout negotiations will begin Friday in Luxembourg by the European Stability Mechanism, the Eurozone bailout fund.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has publicly voiced a lack of confidence in the bailout agreement, and lost support of his left-wing Syriza party for accepting it.