Greece bailout money decision looms

European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials are expected in Athens later to review Greece's progress in cutting its debt levels. They hold the key to releasing further bailout money the country badly needs. On Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou hailed his country's "superhuman" efforts to cut its budget. The review comes amid reports of a split among eurozone members about further support for Greece. Citing "senior European officials", the Financial Times said a number of the bloc's 17 members want private investors to take a bigger hit in the proposed restructuring of Greece's debts. Eurozone members are in the process of ratifying proposals put forward in July, one of which would see private lenders writing off about 20% of their loans to Greece. The proposals also included expanding the powers of the eurozone bailout fund. Germany will vote on the plan on Thursday. Deficit cut Commission, ECB and IMF officials will decide whether to release about 8bn euros ($11bn; £7bn) from a 110bn bailout package agreed last summer. Discussions with Greek officials are expected to begin on Thursday. A key obstacle to the payment was removed on Tuesday when the Greek parliament passed a controversial new property tax bill, first announced earlier this month, that aims to boost revenues. Anyone who does not pay the new tax risks having their power cut off. The tax is one of a number of austerity measures Athens is introducing, measures that saw Greece's budget deficit fall by more than 5 percentage points in 2010, Mr Papandreou said in a speech to German business leaders on Tuesday.