BERLIN, May 20 (Reuters) - 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)