By Renee Maltezou
Greece is submitting a long-awaited list of reforms to euro zone and International Monetary Fund lenders on Friday in the hope it will unlock badly needed cash, a Greek government official said.
The European Union and IMF lenders, informally called the Brussels Group, will meet in Brussels later on Friday to start discussing it, the official said. Their approval, followed by the blessing of euro zone finance ministers, will be needed for Athens to unfreeze aid and stave off bankruptcy.
Athens has so far given little indication about whether the latest list will contain a more far-reaching reform than a previous list of seven reforms on broad issues ranging from tax evasion to public sector reforms that failed to impress lenders.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s left-wing government has said the latest list will include measures to improve investor sentiment, boost tax revenues, and judicial reform but has said little else about what he is promising the lenders.
The government is also expected to address some form of pension reform, though it has already excluded any attempt to raise the retirement age or other sensitive measures that would be viewed as cutting pension payouts for austerity-hit Greeks.
It is also expected to include labour reform aimed at fighting the increase in unregistered workers, and also include commitments to allow privatisations to proceed. The government has rowed back on pledges made in its early days to roll back asset sales, but it still wants to retain management control after selling off stakes.
Athens needs to show its creditors it is committed to structural reforms and that the measures will not derail its budget. Though Athens remains at risk of bankruptcy without fresh aid, publicly the mood in talks between Greece and its lenders has improved in recent days after weeks of acrimony that had raised the risk of a Greek euro zone exit.
France’s Finance Minister Michel Sapin urged Greece on Friday to present detailed reform proposals to allow for a deal with its euro zone peers, saying he had not seen fresh proposals from Greece yet.