May 9, 2016 / 8:35 AM / 3 years ago

EU's Katainen says Greek reforms a major step forward

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen addresses a news conference on the Single Market Strategy at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Greece’s reform package is a major step forward but Eurogroup finance ministers will probably not release a multi-billion euro bailout right away, European Commission Deputy President Jyrki Katainen said on Monday.

He told Finnish broadcaster YLE it was likely that further discussions on debt relief would come before the five billion euro package is released.

Greek lawmakers earlier passed unpopular pension and tax reforms that the country’s leftist-led government hopes will persuade official creditors to unlock bailout cash.

“Last night’s decisions were a major step forward. I don’t have the latest information, if something’s still missing, but as a starting point, Greece has done what was expected,” Katainen said.

“It’s possible the Eurogroup finance ministers will at some point decide to extend loan maturities and perhaps also lower interests rates,” Katainen said.

Reporting by Tuomas Forsell; Editing by Tom Heneghan

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