March 29, 2015 / 8:09 PM / 3 years ago

Greek reform list yet to take shape as talks with lenders continue

ATHENS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Greece and its international creditors continued talks through the weekend on reforms to unlock loans and Athens sounded an upbeat tone, but the lenders said it could take several more days before a proper list of measures was ready.

Greek national flags are displayed for sale at a one-Euro shop in Athens, March 29, 2015. REUTERS/Kostas Tsironis

Greece will run out of money by April 20 if it does not secure funding from its European partners, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters last week.

To get more cash, Greece has promised a list of reforms to make its economy competitive and public finances sustainable.

They are to be scrutinized by the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank before being presented to euro zone finance ministers, the Eurogroup, for approval that would pave the way for new lending.

Athens has said it sent a reform list on Friday. The measures are meant to raise 3 billion euros and exclude “recessionary measures” such as wage and pension cuts.

But creditors said the list was more a collection of ideas than something that could be presented to the Eurogroup.

“Greece did not submit a reform list on Friday. They just showed some ideas over the weekend. The discussions from Friday to Sunday were meant to help the Greeks prepare a list for tomorrow,” one senior euro zone official said.

“We still look forward to receiving something on Monday,” the official said. In their current form, the Greek ideas were not specific enough to win the approval of lenders.

“As they stand, they lack detail and much more technical work will be needed for them to flesh them out into something sufficiently comprehensive and credible to be put to the Eurogroup,” a second euro zone official said.

Asked how long that work might take, the official said:

“I would guess several more days. It would not be in Greece’s interest to submit something which is not going to fly. Better to take time to prepare it properly,” the official said.

TIME RUNNING OUT

In February, Athens agreed an extension to its 240 billion euro ($261 billion) international bailout but the money is frozen until a set of reforms has been decided upon.

“The ... discussions continue in a good climate of cooperation,” a Greek official said. “We have agreed that we need to draw up suitable policies which will shift the burden from those on the lowest incomes to those on the highest.”

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told a Sunday newspaper the country’s liquidity problems would be resolved immediately after an agreement and that he sought no rift with Europe.

European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told German newspaper Die Welt in an interview to be published on Monday the EU expected the reform list at the start of the week.

“It is clear that we need to make progress. We have wasted too much time trying to sort out technical issues,” he said.

Also speaking to Die Welt, the head of the German CSU parliamentary group Gerda Hasselfeldt, a senior ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, urged Greece to present specific reform proposals “instead of election rhetoric and vague financial pledges”.

“The Greek government has destroyed a lot of trust in the last weeks. It now finally has to deliver and honor its pledges to the European partners,” Hasselfeldt added.

(1 US dollar = 0.9185 euro)

Additional reporting by Michael Nienaber in Berlin; Editing by Catherine Evans and Gareth Jones

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