Greece is closer to approval of a four-month extension of its bailout after finance ministers in the eurozone signed off Tuesday on the country’s plan to rein in spending, including scaling back measures to raise the minimum wage and increase welfare spending, Reuters reported. Those same proposals were what helped the far-left Syriza coalition come into power in the embattled nation in January.
The finance ministers’ home countries may want more scrutiny on the plan before approving Greece for a four-month bailout extension, the Wall Street Journal reported. The International Monetary Fund is taking a cautious approach until it gets more details on Greece's concessions. "Whilst the authorities' list is comprehensive, it is not very specific, which is perhaps to be expected considered the government is new in office," said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in a statement, according to the Guardian.
The foreign ministers, however, said they would back Greece’s plan. “In the commission’s view, this list is sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point for a successful conclusion of the review, as called for by [eurozone finance ministers],” commission spokesman Maragaritis Schinas told the Journal. “We are notably encouraged by the strong commitment to combat tax evasion and corruption.”
Seeking an extension to the $273 billion bailout -- which would run out at the end of February -- Greece is also reportedly making changes to its pension system and abandoning early retirement in a move to satisfy creditors, the Journal reported.
The eurozone ministers said they've called on Greece “to further develop and broaden the list of reform measures, based on the current arrangement, in close coordination with the institutions in order to allow for a speedy and successful conclusion of the review,” according to a statement obtained by the Guardian.
The Greek plan also includes reforming bargaining agreements, aggressively going after fuel and tobacco smuggling, and implementing plans to enforce tax evasion, the BBC reported. The country initially agreed to pass over its reform proposals on Monday as fears grew that Greece would leave the 28-member eurozone if talks between Greece and the finance ministers fell through.