Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras promised the speedy settlement of state debts and the recapitalization of the country's troubled banks with the money from the new loan installments, while spending â¿¬11.3 billion ($14.78 billion) on a debt buyback scheme.
"Today ends a long and difficult period of anxiety for Greece," Samaras told Greek reporters in Brussels.
"It ends the rumors, blackmail and pressures on our country to exit the euro.Â Today, Greece gained a great opportunity to stand on its feet and get out of the crisis â¿¿ standing, not kneeling."
Samaras' center-right New Democracy party lost ground to its main rival, the left-wing Syriza Party, according to an opinion poll released late Thursday.The Public Issue survey for private Skai television gave Syriza a 4.5-point lead, on 30.5 percent, while the extreme right Golden Dawn was in third place with a projected support of 10.5 percent. It found that more Greeks now have a negative view of the European Union: 50 percent compared to 46 percent with a positive view â¿¿ a major shift from the respective positions of 37 and 61 percent six months ago. The survey conducted Dec. 6-10 had a 3.2 percent margin of error. Several other recent polls had given Syriza a 2-point advantage.