March 26, 2015 / 7:18 AM / 3 years ago

Greece prepares reforms, eyes deal with euro zone next week

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece will present measures to boost tax revenues and encourage investors as part of a reforms list aimed at reaching a deal with lenders early next week to unlock aid, the government said on Thursday.

A Greek national flag flutters as the parliament building is seen in the background in Athens March 24, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

After talks with EU leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the past week, Athens said it would present a package of reforms to its euro zone partners by Monday in the hope of avoiding bankruptcy.

“I believe that at the beginning of next week we will have an agreement on the package of reforms the Greek government is proposing, and on the funding of the country,” Economy Minister George Stathakis told Antenna TV.

The reforms are a sensitive issue for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s left-wing government, which came to power in January pledging to end austerity.

A source familiar with Greece’s financial position told Reuters on Tuesday Athens would run out of money on April 20 without new cash.

The list of reforms to be implemented by June would include measures to boost tax revenues, improve investment sentiment and make the judicial system more effective, government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told Greek radio on Thursday.

Despite pressure from European lenders to pursue pension reforms, the government is not considering raising the retirement age further to 67 years, Sakellaridis said.

In a boost for the government, a newly passed law that cuts fines on overdue taxes is bringing in larger sums than expected in its early days, he added.

A timetable for the implementation of reforms as well as a cost-and-benefit analysis would be included in the list when it is submitted, a government official earlier told Reuters.

Euro zone authorities have said Athens, which has been kept afloat by EU/IMF bailouts worth 240 billion euros ($260 billion) since 2010, will not get any further aid until the reforms are approved by the bloc’s finance ministers.

Late on Wednesday, Tsipras talked by phone to International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde about the progress of Athens’ negotiations.

“They had a constructive conversation that focused on next steps in taking forward the policy discussions related to the IMF’s continued support of Greece’s reform program,” IMF spokesman William Murray told reporters on Thursday.

($1 = 0.9166 euros)

Additional reporting by Renee Maltezou in Athens and Anna Yukhananov in Washington; editing by Deepa Babington/Ruth Pitchford

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