BERLIN May 20 Germany will help small and
medium-sized Greek firms secure access to funding by making
available 100 million euros ($137 million) in loans, the Finance
Ministry said on Tuesday.
The loan scheme is part of a previously announced plan to
help develop a Greek fund intended to boost growth in the
twice-bailed-out and still heavily indebted euro zone country.
Germany's state-controlled development bank KfW
will provide the loans through Greek banks to Greek small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
"The (Greek) reform efforts are beginning to bear fruit. Now
growth conditions in Greece have to be improved. Especially
small and medium-sized companies must be able to finance
themselves better," Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.
Greece, where the euro zone's debt crisis started, has had
to impose deep spending cuts and other austerity in return for
international bailouts worth 237 billion euros. The tough terms
of the aid deals have fuelled anti-German sentiment in Greece.
The loans are part of a plan to set up a Greek fund with 500
million euros, 100 million of which will be provided by each
Germany and Greece.
During a visit to Athens in April, German Chancellor Angela
Merkel met Greek start-up companies and promised Germany would
support a Greek fund.
($1 = 0.7289 Euros)
(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt; Editing by Catherine Evans
and Alison Williams)