Greece optimistic on deal with euro zone next week

By Reuters

Mar 26, 2015 07:29 AM EDT

Greece is optimistic about reaching a deal on economic reforms with its euro zone peers early next week, unblocking urgently needed funding, its economy minister said on Thursday.

After talks with EU leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the past week, Athens said it would present a package of reforms to its euro zone partners by Monday in the hope of unlocking aid and avoiding bankruptcy.

"I believe that at the beginning of next week we will have an agreement on the package of reforms the Greek government is proposing, and on the funding of the country," Economy Minister George Stathakis told Antenna TV.

He did not specify when the list would be sent.

The reforms are a sensitive issue for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's leftwing government, which came to power in January pledging to end austerity.

It is not clear whether they will include measures agreed by the previous conservative-led government, such as privatizations and pension reforms.

Euro zone authorities have said Athens, which has been kept afloat by EU/IMF bailouts worth 240 billion euros since 2010, will not get any further aid until the reforms are approved by the bloc's finance ministers.

A source familiar with Greece's financial position told Reuters on Tuesday Athens would run out of money on April 20 without new cash.

In a setback to the government on Wednesday, Greece failed to secure a quick cash payment from the euro zone after officials said Athens was not entitled to 1.2 billion euros from the European Financial Stability Facility.

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