Greece delays sending reforms to euro zone till Tuesday

Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:54pm EST
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By Angeliki Koutantou and Karolina Tagaris

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece will present its economic reform plans to the euro zone on Tuesday, a government official said, missing a Monday deadline for the list which is a condition for extending the country's financial lifeline.

The official gave no reason for the delay but said euro zone finance ministers would consider Greece's plans, which include a crackdown on tax evasion and corruption, as scheduled on Tuesday afternoon.

In Brussels a euro zone official said the "content of the letter will not be a surprise" to the euro zone and therefore the Tuesday submission was not a major issue. Greece has said it was working closely with its euro zone partners in drawing up the list.

Germany, the biggest contributor to Greece's two bailouts totaling 240 billion euros, insisted earlier that any extra spending on Athens's list of reforms had to be offset by savings or higher taxes.

The government of radical leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras staged a climbdown on Friday to win the four-month extension of Greece's bailout, which had been due to expire on Feb. 28. Tsipras had promised to scrap the program when he won election last month.

Earlier in the day, government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis had said the list of reforms would go to the Eurogroup by the end of Monday, meeting the deadline set under Friday's deal in Brussels.

Athens has stressed the reforms would at least be decided by Greeks, in contrast to the austerity policies dictated by foreign creditors since they bailed out the country in 2010.

The official later said: "The list of reforms will be sent to the finance ministers of the Eurogroup on Tuesday morning, while a teleconference will take place in the afternoon."   Continued...

Street vendors are seen at the entrance of Athens' main fish market, February 23, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis