New Greek reforms list disappoints creditors

New Greek reforms list disappoints creditors

Athens, April 2, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Zacharias Petrou

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis submitted to international lenders an updated list of reforms the government intends to implement.

The updated Greek proposals foresee the adoption of measures that will bring in revenues of 4.7 billion to 6.1 billion euros, which would lead to Greece achieving a primary surplus of 3.1 to 3.9 percent of gross domestic product, which is above even the original 3 percent target in the country’s bailout program.

Reforms include audits of offshore bank transfers and a new lottery scheme aimed at compelling consumers to demand value added tax receipts.

The document says the measures could mean a surplus of as much as 3.9 per cent of economic output, which is above the programme’s current 3 per cent target. It also states “all existing contracts will be honoured [and] all the procedures that have started are going to continue”. Remaining privatisations would be considered “on a case-by-case basis”, and are projected to bring in €1.5bn this year, down from €2.2bn in the original bailout agreement.

Despite the improvements made to the list by the Finance ministry in order for it to come closer to the requirements of the country’s lenders, sources suggest it is not enough to unlock mush-needed aid. Lenders want to see sweeping reforms implemented, including an overhaul of the Greek pension system and greater labour market liberalisation.

During a Euro Working Group (EWG) teleconference, in which Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis also took part on Wednesday evening, sources suggest the euro-area tecnhical experts saw the Greek proposals as being a “very long way” from being the basis for an agreement that would allow the Eurogroup of finance ministers to agree a funding disbursal.

“It was just to take stock,” a source close to the EWG discussions told AFP. “There won’t be any developments in coming days,” he added. “We will continue with technical work in Athens. There is no Eurogroup meeting in sight.”

Some European officials are concerned that Athens does not have sufficient funds to make a €450 million payment to the IMF on April 9, but Greek officials insist they will make the payment and avoid default.