Greece to offer reform plan to secure bailout deal with EU
Greece aims to offer a list of proposed reforms to the European Union in a bid to convince Brussels to accept the extension of Athens’ bailout loans.
According to reports, Greece is due to announce economic reforms on Monday in order to secure a final agreement with the eurozone countries to extend the debt-ridden country’s bailout program.
“We are compiling a list of measures to make the Greek civil service more effective and to combat tax evasion,” said Greece’s Minister of State Nikos Pappas on Sunday, adding that the reforms would help the Greek economy to come “out of sedation.”
The Greek official also stated that there is still a lot of tough job ahead as the talks between Athens and the eurozone countries are “a daily battle…[and] every centimeter of ground must be won with effort”.
On Friday, the tentative agreement to extend Greece’s bailout loan by four months was reached during preparatory talks between Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief, Christine Lagarde, and Eurogroup chairman, Jeroen Dijsselbloem.
No resolution yet: Germany
This is while Berlin said the two sides have not reached a definite conclusion yet.
“Europe has some breathing space, nothing more, and certainly not a resolution,” said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (pictured above) on Monday, adding, “The fundamentals – namely assistance in exchange for reform – must remain the same.”
A difficult road ahead: Tsipras
The remarks came a day after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (pictured below) hailed the agreement as a “decisive step” that “achieved much” toward ending austerity, but said Greece has “a long and difficult road ahead.”
“In effect it cancels austerity.… In a few days we have achieved a lot but we have a long road. We have taken a decisive step to change course within the eurozone. Now negotiations enter a new, effective stage,” the premier said.
Over the past weeks, Athens and the EU have been at loggerheads over the country’s bailout loans.
The government of Tsipras, whose leftist Syriza party stormed to victory in January 25 elections, has tried to renegotiate the terms of the country’s €240-billion (USD 270 billion) bailout it received in 2010 in return for imposing harsh austerity measures.
During his electoral campaign, Tsipras vowed to reconsider the austerity measures that have caused mounting dissatisfaction in the country.
The measures have forced people to endure multiple tax increases, along with cuts in pension and salary, in exchange for bailout loans by the troika of lenders – the European Commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank (ECB).