Greece seeks bailout extension with reforms

Greece seeks bailout extension with reforms

ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Greece seeks bailout extension with reforms

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis holds a press conference after an Eurogroup finance ministers meeting at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 20, 2015. AFP Photo.

Greece’s new anti-austerity government submitted a preliminary list of reform proposals to Brussels on Feb. 23 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 this weekend, leaving the government at risk of running out of cash, a run on banks and even a eurozone exit.

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 swinging 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 Feb. 20.

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.

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

“Of course there will be measures that fit with the philosophy of Syriza... but they also have to take account of budgetary balance and the need to repay debts,” Moscovici said.

The source in Brussels said the list received was “not definitive.” The finance ministers of the eurogroup are expected to discuss the plan today.