Saturday 25 November 2017

Greece reform list due tomorrow

The parliament in Athens is due to present a list of proposed reforms to debt inspectors. (AP)
The parliament in Athens is due to present a list of proposed reforms to debt inspectors. (AP)

A list of reforms demanded from the new Greek government by bailout creditors will be sent early tomorrow, officials say, extending a deadline by a few hours.

A government official said the reforms would be discussed later at a tele-conference of eurozone finance ministers.

The reforms list was required as part of an agreement reached on Friday to extend Greece's bailout deals for four months and provide Athens with vital loan payments needed to repay its debts.

Greece's left-wing government is already facing dissent within its ruling party over claims it is backtracking on recent election-winning promises to ease budget cuts for the recession-battered Greeks.

Greece and its creditors have been in a stand-off since prime minister Alexis Tsipras's left-wing Syriza party won general elections last month on a pledge to tear up bailout agreements and seek a massive write-off of bailout debts, totalling 240 billion euro (£175 billion).

In Friday's deal for an extension, Greece claimed to have won some ground against its creditors, as it is allowed to have a say in what measures it proposes. It also says it has gained consent to soften its budget surplus targets, allowing them to drop austerity from their reform measures.

But overall, experts say the country has given in on a series of points. Its reforms, for example, need approval from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - a form of oversight Athens had sought to end to restore national pride.

Also, Greece has its back against the wall financially. If it does not submit reforms that creditors like, Athens would face huge financial uncertainty as its bailout ends in days.

Reports suggest Greeks have been withdrawing money from banks in case the talks lead to a worst-case scenario in which the country falls out of the euro - something neither the government nor creditors want.

Since Friday's provisional agreement, several prominent Syriza members have publicly said the party should honour its campaign promises.

The government official said reforms would focus on curbing tax evasion and excessive bureaucracy and address poverty caused by a six-year recession.

Press Association

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