Much-needed rescue funds for Athens "will be flowing to Greece as early as next week," the head of the Eurogroup Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday.
Juncker spoke at a news conference after finance ministers of the 17-nation eurozone agreed to release a first 34.3 billion euros of aid to Greece, part of a rescue package held up for months due to worries over economic reform delays.
The EU's Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said at the news conference that the European Union was "well aware of how difficult the situation is for the Greek people."
There were "no easy solutions" and "reforms are difficult", he added.
"Now it will be essential to maintain the momentum of reform," he added. "Much has been achieved but much remains to be done."
The IMF and the eurozone had agreed to release 43.7 billion euros in rescue loans in four instalments to enable Greece to avoid bankruptcy provided Athens carried out a bond buyback.
Part of that money, an amount of about 34 billion euros, is urgently needed to recapitalise Greek banks which took part in a previous operation to write-down another part of the country's debt in the spring.
Germany and France signalled on Wednesday that a Greek debt buy-back passed a critical bailout test, saying it was "satisfactory" even though it will cost more than expected.
Greece's debt management agency said it had attracted offers worth 31.9 billion euros ($41.2 billion) under the scheme.