• Greece delivers reforms list ‘on time’

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    BRUSSELS: The list of Greek reform measures demanded by the country’s international creditors in return for extending its bailout program has arrived “on time,” the European Commission said Tuesday.

    “List of reform measures of Greek government received on time,” Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said in a tweet, without giving any details or specifying when the list was submitted.

    The list was supposed to have been delivered by a midnight Monday deadline after eurozone finance ministers and Greece’s creditors agreed Friday to give Athens another four months to put its economic house in order.

    Late Monday, however, a Greek government source said the list would be handed over in time for the finance ministers to discuss them in a conference call on Tuesday afternoon.

    The “troika” of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund will also have their say on whether the reforms will keep Greece on track to meet tough targets agreed in the bailout package for restoring its public finances.

    The new left-wing Greek government headed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won power in January on a promise to ditch the program and its hated austerity commitments which he says wrecked the economy.

    Germany has led determined opposition to any change, insisting Greece must stick to its commitments and that only fiscal discipline can deliver sustainable growth.

    The compromise deal reached Friday allows Greece to change the balance of the bailout while leaving the overall impact of the program unchanged.

    “This is a very exciting moment because we are getting to be the co-authors of our fate,” Varoufakis said.

    “I can assure you that people on the street are elated by this return to dignity of a people, the Greek people, who for five years have been treated as a debt colony.”

    A Greek government source said that the measures included free electricity for 300,000 poor families, free access to health care, food and public transport coupons and aid for those on low pensions.

    Voter backlash
    Tsipras, whose Syriza party swept to power last month, will face a voter backlash if he fails to deliver on promises made before his election victory to reverse hated austerity measures.

    However, other eurozone members, not least powerhouse Germany, are concerned that Athens might backtrack on promises to cut spending and pass root-and-branch reforms made in return for its two bailout packages.

    “The fundamentals—namely assistance in exchange for reform —must remain the same,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the Bild daily in comments published on Monday.

    “Of course there will be measures that fit with the philosophy of Syriza . . . but they also have to take account of budgetary balance and the need to repay debts,” EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told France 2.

    AFP

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