Eurogroup says yes but tells Greece to broaden reforms

(AGI) Brussels, Feb 24 - The Eurogroup has given the go-aheadto proceed with the reform plan submitted by Greece on Mondaynight, but also appealed to the Greek authorities to "furtherdevelop and broaden the list of reform measures, based on thecurrent arrangement," a statement said after a teleconferenceof eurozone finance ministers. The Eurogroup said it had agreedto begin national procedures - parliamentary votes in severalstates - to give the deal final approval. However, the list ofreforms presented by Athens "will be further specified and thenagreed with the institutions by the end of

(AGI) Brussels, Feb 24 - The Eurogroup has given the go-aheadto proceed with the reform plan submitted by Greece on Mondaynight, but also appealed to the Greek authorities to "furtherdevelop and broaden the list of reform measures, based on thecurrent arrangement," a statement said after a teleconferenceof eurozone finance ministers. The Eurogroup said it had agreedto begin national procedures - parliamentary votes in severalstates - to give the deal final approval. However, the list ofreforms presented by Athens "will be further specified and thenagreed with the institutions by the end of April". The noteconcluded with an appeal to the Greek authorities to broadenthe list of measures in the pipeline "that would allow thesuccessful conclusion of the review" of the aid programme.Lagarde okays Greek letter but says it was unclear over reformsIMF chief, Christine Lagarde, in a letter to the President ofthe Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, argued that the commitmentscontained in Greece's letter are sufficient to enable thecountry to receive further aid, but were "generally not veryspecific" on a number of reforms. In particular, Ms Lagardebelieves the commitment of Athens to "combating tax evasion andcorruption", is a good thing but also expressed somereservations. "In quite a few areas, however, including perhapsthe most important ones, the letter is not conveying clearassurances that the Government intends to undertake thereforms", in particular, as regards privatisation, VAT,pensions, liberalisation and labour reform, the IMF chiefconcluded. Merkel asks CDU to vote for aid to Greece GermanChancellor Angela Merkel asked her centre-right CDU to vote inParliament on Friday in favour of the extension of aid toGreece. However, the Chancellor, as reported by an MP presentat the meeting, added that negotiations are continuing withAthens and "the work is not yet over". Mario Draghi, speakingin Athens, said that Greece's letter to the Eurogroup is a"valid starting point for a successful conclusion of thereview" of the programme. Writing to the Eurogroup Mr Draghinoted: "the commitments outlined by the authorities differ fromexisting programme commitments in a number of areas." "However,as we expected it was not possible for the authorities toelaborate on concrete proposals and commitments that can beassessed by the institutions in respect to growth, publicfinances and financial stability. Given the very limited timeavailable, this is understandable," he continued. However "thecommitments outlined by the authorities differ from existingprogramme commitments in a number of areas" and so "we willhave to assess during the review whether measures which are notaccepted by the authorities are replaced with measures of equalor better quality in terms of achieving the objectives of theprogramme." (AGI) .