NEWS

Attention turns to reforms list following talks in Brussels

Greek officials met on Friday to begin the process of drafting a list of reforms that could help unlock further bailout funding for Greece after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s Thursday night meeting in Brussels resulted in key European Union officials demanding swift action from the coalition.

Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis gathered Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis to discuss the measures that Greece will propose to its lenders. It is expected that the proposals will focus on fiscal, reform, privatization, social security and labor measures. While they may deviate from the reforms being discussed by the previous government, Greece will still have to ensure that it produces a primary surplus this year. Following the end of the EU leaders’ summit Friday, Tsipras suggested that the figure could reach 1 to 1.5 percent of gross domestic product.

Tsipras insisted that his talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and European Council supremo Donald Tusk had resulted in an agreement that Greece does not have to complete the bailout program and review that the previous government was not able to.

“We will submit our reform proposals after working on them together with our lenders, first to the Brussels Group and then the Eurogroup,” said Tsipras. “Then we will have a steady disbursement of funds.”

The Greek prime minister insisted that none of the measures would be “recessionary.” Merkel, however, appeared to give a different interpretation of what is expected from Greece, suggesting that the basis for the reform program should be the most recent troika review, which took place on December 10.

“The Greek government has the possibility of replacing individual reforms outstanding from December 10 with other reforms if these... have the same effect,” she told reporters, adding that Ireland had done something similar.

Neither leader gave a specific timetable for when the reforms list would be ready. However, there is a possibility that an extraordinary Eurogroup could be held as early as Friday if Athens has managed to submit its proposals.

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