ATHENS: Greece was in a new race against time on Friday to get its EU-IMF bailout on track, with its international creditors pushing for a clear reform pledge.
The two-month-old radical government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has until April to reach agreement with its creditors, but its cash reserves are running dangerously low.
Late on Thursday, European leaders said they had agreed with Greece to finish work “as fast as possible” to unblock loans helping Athens to avoid bankruptcy and a catastrophic exit from the euro.
“We have put the process back on track,” Tsipras said after talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Francois Hollande and the EU’s top officials on the sidelines of a summit in Brussels.
“Greek authorities will have the ownership of the reforms and will present a full list of specific reforms in the next days,” said a statement issued after the talks.
France’s Hollande urged Greece “to be more precise in its reform proposals and introduce them faster than planned.”
Greece’s new government, which intends to eliminate austerity, made a pledge in February to present alternative reforms to its creditors by April.
But technical talks in Athens and Brussels largely stalled amid reports that the Greek officials were being uncooperative in handing over budget data.
The Greek finance ministry on Friday said it was expecting a “detailed list” from EU-IMF technical teams on their data requirements.
“We look forward to receiving the document when it is ready, and will review and respond to it in the same constructive spirit,” the ministry said.
In past weeks, the Greek government has released several reform lists but without citing the possible cost of the measures, a crucial point for the country’s creditors.
Greece has received no money this year from its ongoing 240-billion-euro ($256-billion) bailout as reforms talks with its creditors have dragged on since September.
They were interrupted in December as the country headed into an early election that was won by the radical Syriza party in January.
Athens wants the European Central Bank to hand over 1.9 billion euros in profits it made from buying Greek bonds, as it has done previously.
Greek daily Ta Nea on Friday said Athens has also requested permission to raise an additional 5.0 billion euros in short-term debt.
Greek banks are currently restricted by the European Central Bank from participating in such debt issues, which are a key source of income for the cash-strapped Greek government.