INTERNATIONAL

Greece presents list of proposed reforms

A float with a character depicting new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, holding a fake one Euro coin in his left hand (right) and a coin of the former monetary unit of modern Greece, a Drachma, in his right hand (left), parades during the Patras carnival, west of Athens, on Sunday. — PHOTO: AFP

A float with a character depicting new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, holding a fake one Euro coin in his left hand (right) and a coin of the former monetary unit of modern Greece, a Drachma, in his right hand (left), parades during the Patras carnival, west of Athens, on Sunday. — PHOTO: AFP  

Measures need to win EU approval for it to continue receiving assistance

Greece’s new anti-austerity government submitted a preliminary list of reform proposals to Brussels on Monday in a bid to secure a four-month extension to its lifeline debt bailout, a European source said.

If the measures fail to win the approval of Greece’s EU creditors, the country’s safety net will collapse on Saturday leaving the government at risk of running out of cash, a run on banks and even a eurozone exit.

Voter backlash possible

But hard-left Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose Syriza party swept to power in elections last month, could also face a voter backlash if he fails to deliver on promises to ease the pain of ordinary Greeks after years of swingeing government spending cuts.

In the latest in a series of dramatic showdowns over Greece’s €240-billion-euro ($270-billion) bailout, flamboyant new Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis secured the extension from his 18 fellow eurozone partners in Brussels on Friday.

The tentative agreement boosted global markets as fears eased of a “Grexit” or eurozone exit — which could have highly damaging wider ramifications — and stocks mostly rose in Asia and Europe.

The deal however came with the proviso that Athens provide by Monday a list of measures to quash concerns, not least in powerhouse Germany, that Greece might backtrack on its commitments to cut spending and pass root-and-branch reforms. “Europe has some breathing space, nothing more, and certainly not a resolution,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the Bild daily on Monday. “The fundamentals — namely assistance in exchange for reform — must remain the same.”

EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told France 2 television that Greece’s proposed reforms had to be “realistic”.

In Berlin, a finance ministry spokesman said the list needed to be “coherent and plausible”. — AFP

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