Eurozone finance ministers back Greek reform plans

Ministers from 19 states announce their approval of list of reforms submitted by Athens in return for extending bailout.

    Eurozone finance ministers back Greek reform plans
    19 Eurozone finance ministers consider the reforms submitted by Greece as a 'valid starting point' [Getty Images]

    Eurozone finance ministers have announced that they have approved a list of reforms submitted by Greece in exchange for a four-month extension to its international bailout.

    The 19 ministers decided in a teleconference on Tuesday that "they consider this list of measures to be sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point," they said in a statement.

    "We therefore agreed to proceed with the national procedures with a view to reaching the final decision on the extension by up to four months."

    The European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund - formerly known as the "troika" of creditors and now dubbed the "institutions" - will further review and refine the list up until the end of April.

    "We call on the Greek authorities to further develop and broaden the list of reform measures, based on the current arrangement, in close co-ordination with the institutions in order to allow for a speedy and successful conclusion of the review," the statement added.

    Without the financial lifeline now available over the coming few months, Greece faced the possibility of going bankrupt, imposing capital controls and ditching the euro.

    In its list of reforms, the Greek government says it will combat tax evasion and corruption, reduce bureaucracy, review public spending, modernise the pension system, reform the judicial system and address rising poverty through measures that have "no fiscal effect".

    Al Jazeera's John Psaropoulos, reporting from Athens, said the Eurogroup have given the nod to this list but they do specify that its still has to be deepened, broadened and has to be more specific on how these goals are going to be achieved.

    "The things that have been announced in this list are broadly popular here. People do want a smaller government, they do want a less expensive goverment, they do want social security that is solvant and they do want a tax collection authority that is transparent and effectitve but also fair," Psaropoulos said.

    The reform plans were sent ahead of Monday's deadline, and were met with a favourable response in the markets. The main stock market in Athens was up around nine percent in afternoon trading.

    The proposal to extend Greece's bailout, which ends at the end of the month, now goes to some member nations for approval.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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