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Greece secures another $8.7b in loans

But creditors say austerity plan is moving too slow

In Athens on Monday, municipal police protested Greece’s plan to slash the number of civil servants in an austerity drive.

Petros Giannakouris/Associated Press

In Athens on Monday, municipal police protested Greece’s plan to slash the number of civil servants in an austerity drive.

BRUSSELS — Greece secured $8.7 billion in rescue loans Monday after squeaking by an inspection from its international creditors, who are demanding that 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 but warned it is making reforms too slowly and that the outlook for its economy, in recession since 2007, remains uncertain.

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The so-called troika of creditors still recommended that the next loan payments be made, and finance ministers from the 17 countries that use the euro agreed. The loans will be disbursed in July, August, and October.

‘‘Greece is getting on track,’’ Germany’s 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 the government keeps up with the reforms it promised in exchange for about $310 billion in bailout loans, its creditors turn over the funds slowly — and only after rigorous assessments of the country’s progress.

Greece has been hammered by a financial crisis since 2009 and is in the sixth year of a deep recession.

The troika said that ‘‘policy implementation is behind in some areas’’ and that 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.

Unemployment in Greece has spiraled to above 27 percent, in part because of the reforms and austerity measures.

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.

The government must put 12,500 civil servants on administrative leave by the end of the year, with the possibility of dismissal. They will be paid 75 percent of normal salary and be subject to dismissal if they aren’t transferred to other state agencies within eight months.

Municipal workers across the country went on strike to protest the plan, while the country’s civil servants union, ADEDY, called a work stoppage for all civil servants in Athens.

The austerity plans agreed to in return for the loans have included big salary and pension cuts as well as repeated tax hikes.

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