EU offers $2bn in unused funds to Greece

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. (Reuters / ric Vidal)
The European Commission has made $2 billion of unused funds available to Greece to help the country avert a cash crunch, EC head Jean-Claude Juncker says.

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The offer was made a day after crisis talks between Greece's new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European leaders on Greece's EU-IMF bailout.

Greek authorities said on Friday they were gradually moving towards meeting the requirements of international creditors on a more detailed reform plan, after Prime Minister Tsipras said his coalition would intensify work to avert the country’s bankruptcy.

Austerity policies have been the focus of a standoff between Greece and its troika of creditors. Promises to end the era of drastic cuts helped Tsipras win power two months ago, but since then his stance has weakened. Greece’s western creditors have been insisting the country needs to reform its economy and start cutting its own expenses, if it wants to get new money for its ailing economy.

Austerity policies have been the focus of a standoff between Greece and its Troika of creditors. Promises to end the era of drastic cuts helped Tsipras win power two months ago, but since then his stance has weakened. Greece’s western creditors have been insisting the country needs to reform its economy and start cutting its own expenses, if it wants to get new money for its ailing economy.

The Troika of creditors said in February they were ready to extend the current bailout program until June 2015, but a general agreement hasn’t been reached yet.

Tsipras has sharply criticized the Troika methods calling them arm-twisting. He blames them for his country’s unprecedented recession.

Greece received two bailouts from the EU in 2010 and 2014 totaling €240 billion. Having taken on austerity measures, Greece saw its economy losing a quarter of its value, with a third of Greeks living below the poverty line and unemployment exceeding 30 percent.

Experts say the money Greece has now will only last till the end of March.