Greek creditors seek third wave of reforms before loan

Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:09pm EDT
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By Francesco Guarascio and Renee Maltezou

BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) - International creditors want Greece to enact a third wave of politically sensitive reforms before they will release any money to keep the near bankrupt country afloat under a third bailout they began negotiating on Monday.

The government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has pushed two packages of measures through parliament this month as a condition for starting talks on a three-year loan worth up to 86 billion euros ($95 billion) to keep Greece in the euro zone.

Technical talks, delayed for several days by logistical issues, began as former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis confirmed he had made secret plans to hack into citizens' tax codes to issue a parallel currency if necessary.

Varoufakis said Tspiras had initially approved contingency planning by a five-person unit in his ministry led by U.S. economist James Galbraith but had refused to give the green light to activate the plan after Greece had to close its banks and impose capital controls on June 28.

The outspoken minister, long regarded by creditors as an obstacle to any deal, resigned a week later.

Figures issued by the European Central Bank showed Greek banks lost 6 percent of all deposits, worth 8 billion euros, in June alone as previous bailout talks foundered and the leftist government called a referendum to reject the terms.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission said teams of experts from the creditor institutions were now in Athens. "Work has started, meaning that the institutions are talking to the Greek authorities," she said.

The talks had been due to start last Friday, but were postponed because of organizational and security issues.   Continued...

Tourists stand in front of the Parthenon temple as they visit the archaeological site of the Acropolis hill in Athens, Greece July 26, 2015.  REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun  -