March 24, 2015 / 6:35 AM / in 3 years

Greece promises list of reforms by Monday to unlock cash

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece said it will present a package of reforms to its euro zone partners by next Monday in hope of unlocking aid to help it deal with a cash crunch and avoid default.

“It will be done at the latest by Monday,” government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told Mega TV.

Greece’s left-wing government and its euro zone creditors agreed last week that Athens would come up with a list of its own reforms, which must achieve a similar budget impact to measures agreed by the previous conservative-led administration.

Athens is rushing to get the list ready before state coffers run empty, which is expected to happen in a few weeks without more aid.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday but Sakellaridis said the two only discussed the outline of the reforms without going into depth.

“I believe points of convergence were found,” he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras address a news conference following talks at the Chancellery in Berlin March 23, 2015. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

The reforms are a deeply politically sensitive issue for Tsipras, who stormed to power pledging to end austerity policies before being forced to accept an extension to a hated bailout program under the threat of a banking collapse.

Sakellaridis said the package of reforms Athens will propose would not contain recessionary measures but structural changes.

If Greece’s creditors agree that the substitute reforms can achieve an impact equivalent to previously agreed measures, Athens would get more loans from the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund, averting bankruptcy.

On Tuesday, newspaper Kathimerini said Athens would ask the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to hand it back 1.2 billion euros out of 10.9 billion euros of mostly EFSF bonds its bank rescue fund returned last month.

It said Athens believes the rescue fund should have returned only 9.7 billion euros of its remaining cushion as the remaining amount was cash rather than EFSF bonds.

The fund returned the sum to the EFSF last month as part of a Feb. 20 Eurogroup agreement that extended Greece’s bailout by four months.

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Angeliki Koutantou, editing by Deepa Babington and John Stonestreet

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