Greek reform list to comprise mainly structural actions, says gov’t

Greece’s list of reforms to be submitted to the euro zone on Monday comprises pledges on structural issues such as tax evasion and corruption over the next four months without specific targets, a government official said on Saturday.

Athens clinched a last-minute deal late on Friday to avoid a banking collapse by accepting a conditional extension of its bailout program. The accord requires Greece to submit by Monday a letter to the Eurogroup listing all the policy measures it plans to take during the remainder of the bailout period.

If the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are satisfied, the Eurogroup is likely to endorse the list in a teleconference without the need for a formal meeting. Then euro zone member states will need to ratify the extension, where necessary through their parliaments.

Greek officials have been working on the reform list since Saturday morning and plan to submit a short list of pledges on areas such as tax evasion, corruption and public administration, the Greek official said.

There will not be specific figures or targets to be achieved tied to the goals, the official said, adding that the two sides had not yet discussed how Greece would be evaluated on the reforms.

Despite a climbdown from promises to end the bailout and stop dealing with the hated «troika» of EU, ECB and IMF, Athens has tried to stress that Greeks are now shaping their own destiny rather than having reforms imposed from abroad. The official said that what counted was that Greece had «ownership» of the program.

However, Athens has already promised not to take any action that could burden Greece’s fiscal targets.

EU officials and euro zone ministers said they had no reason to think Greece would not come up with a satisfactory list of measures on Monday night. However, some hawkish countries have insisted that if there are doubts, the Eurogroup would have to reconvene in Brussels.

Athens, which has been under a bailout program for over four years, has managed to shore up its finances in recent years but has a patchy record on structural reform. Tax evasion remains endemic and successive governments have failed to break the grip of special interest groups on the economy.