ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece will distribute 1.4 billion euros ($1.63 billion) as a social dividend to pensioners and others hit hard by the country’s austerity programs, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Monday.
The money is available because the country has beaten its 2017 bailout target for a primary surplus – which excludes debt servicing costs – of 1.75 percent of gross economic output, he said.
Tsipras came to power in 2015 promising to end austerity but was later forced to sign up to a new EU bailout, the country’s third, in exchange for more belt-tightening to keep Greece in the euro zone. He was re-elected and his term ends in late 2019.
His leftist-led government hopes that after seven years of crisis, Greece’s fiscal performance will help it emerge from EU bailouts in August 2018, when its current rescue package ends.
“For a second year, we …