EU offers Greece 2 billion euros in humanitarian aid

File image of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, with Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Source: AP

Unused EU development funds totalling 2 billion euros are being made available to Greece, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker says.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has urged Greece to grab 2 billion euros ($A2.79 billion) in unused EU development funds as it struggles with a cash crunch and a battered economy.

Juncker made the offer on Friday a day after crisis talks between new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European leaders to shore up Greece's faltering EU-IMF bailout.

"This will not be used to fill Greece's coffers, but to support efforts to create growth and social cohesion in Greece," targeting especially youth unemployment, Juncker told a press conference at the end of a two-day summit.

"Greece confronts a serious social problem, a humanitarian crisis," he warned in justifying the payout.

The parliament in Athens defied EU warnings on Wednesday to pass a special "humanitarian crisis" bill to give aid to the poorest in society.

Brussels has been at odds with Greece's new radical left-wing government since it was elected in January on a promise to ditch austerity measures and renegotiate its debt.

Greece has been lobbying for Brussels to release vital funds to help it make payments to creditors in coming days and avoid bankruptcy and a possible exit from the euro.

The powerful German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was up to the Eurogroup, the 19 finance ministers who officially preside over Greece's bailout, to decide when and how the desperately needed cash gets paid out.

"We never said the last day of program extension is pay day. If they finish earlier then of course after fulfilment of all obligations it is possible to pay earlier," she said.

Greece's creditors agreed in February to extend its 240-billion-euro bailout by four months in exchange for promises of further reforms.

Athens had asked for the final seven-billion-euro tranche of the bailout to be paid out now to stay afloat, but Brussels wants more evidence of its commitment to the reforms.

Tsipras agreed at the talks on Thursday that Greece would provide a new list of reform commitments to its creditors "in the next days", a statement from the meeting said.

A European source said if "all went well" this could lead to a crunch meeting of eurozone ministers on Friday, in which sorely needed cash could be unblocked.

Time was running out for Athens as Friday brings a key debt deadline when Greece must pay 300 million euros to the IMF and redeem 1.6 billion euros in treasury bills.

Source AAP

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