Greece unveiled a set of proposed reforms demanded by its creditors on Tuesday, according to media reports. The reforms are part of a deal Greece has agreed to in exchange for a loan extension.
The proposed measures include plans to target tax evasion and fuel and cigarette smuggling, as well as streamlining the country’s civil service and making “the fight against corruption into a national priority,” Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, said, in a letter to Eurogroup, published by Reuters. The letter was also sent to International Monetary Fund late on Monday.
The list of reforms must now be approved by creditors in a Tuesday meeting in order for Greece to secure the extension.
Greece had previously delayed the deadline for the proposed reforms by 24 hours, after initially agreeing to do so by Monday.
In its list of reforms, Greece promised to not roll back any completed or ongoing privatizations. It also pledged that any state funds directed towards Greece’s “humanitarian crisis,” as Syriza called it, would not hurt the state’s budget.
The deal marks a number of changes from the Syriza's previous stance. Greece will reportedly no longer immediately hike the minimum wage, but instead, the government would reportedly begin a process of collective bargaining which, it hopes, will increase wages over time. On public sector wages, the government promised reforms that would prevent wages from slipping further.
The Athens government also reportedly pledged to consolidate pension funds and eliminate loopholes which encouraged early retirement. One of the core promises of Syriza’s Thessaloniki Program, which it campaigned on, was a pledge to restore pensions and raise wages. The current agreement is seen as a compromise to avoid further cuts to Greece’s badly hit pensions.
The list also includes a plan to reform tax policy, and to review spending in “every area,” and a pledge to avoid interfering in the operations of banks.
The reforms and loan extension are seen as last ditch options for Greece’s Syriza government, which has repeatedly clashed with its creditors, principally Germany, since coming to power on an anti-austerity platform. Syriza has called for more of Greece's 323 billion euro debt to be forgiven, which Germany refused. However, Greece's creditors have said the prospect of Greece leaving the eurozone is not being considered.
"It's not discussed, and it shows we have a very strong political commitment to keep the eurozone intact ... and to work together very strongly," Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in a debate Tuesday, according to media reports.