The Greek government has submitted a package of economic reform proposals to the Eurozone late Thursday night in a last ditch effort to secure a further bailout from its creditors.
The proposal was received late on Thursday, just two hours before a midnight deadline. Eurozone officials say they will now study the proposals ahead of an EU emergency summit scheduled over the weekend.
The proposal was submitted after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spent Thursday seeking agreement on the reforms from his government partners, the BBC said.
A Greek official said lawmakers would be asked to authorise the leftist government to negotiate a list of "prior actions" it would take before any fresh aid funds are disbursed, a key step to convince international creditors of its serious intent, Reuters reported.
The reform package includes tax rises, pension reforms and economic liberalisation measures. According to Greek media reports, the measures include:
- A tax rise on shipping companies and scrapping tax discounts for islands;
- Unifying tax rates at a standard 23%, including restaurants and catering;
- Phasing out solidarity grant for pensioners by 2019; and
- €300m (£216m, $332m) defence spending cuts by 2016.
A further vote by parliament is needed to turn the package into law next week if Eurozone leaders agree to the proposals on Sunday that they are good enough to start talks on a three year loan and to release bridging funds to help keep Greece afloat.
The Greek parliament is scheduled to vote on Tsipras' latest proposal to the EU on Friday. The proposal will then be considered by Eurozone finance ministers on Saturday and by EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on Sunday.
EU confirms receiving Greece's proposals
Jeroen Jijsselbloem, the head of the 19-member Eurozone group of finance ministers has confirmed receiving the Greek proposal.
He said through a spokesman that he would not comment until the proposal has been assessed by experts from the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Reuters reported.
The news agency noted that Athens' biggest creditor, Germany has made a small concession by acknowledging that Greece will need some debt restructuring as part of the new programme to make its public finances viable in the medium term.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who has doubts about Greece's fitness to remain in the euro currency arena, told a conference in Frankfurt: "Debt sustainability is not feasible without a haircut and I think the IMF is correct in saying that.
However, he added: "There cannot be a haircut because it would infringe the system of the European Union." Schaeuble did not offer a solution to the problem, which Reuters said implies that Greece's problem might "not be soluble within the Eurozone."
The finance minister however did say there was limited scope for "reprofiling" Greek debt by extending loan maturities, shaving interest rates and lengthening a moratorium on debt service payments.
Given that Schaeuble had raised issue with the fact that he has not seen any "prior actions" by the Greek government, the scheduled Friday's vote in Athens should help towards showing the commitment of the government, Reuters said.
Debt relief should be part of any new loan deal
The European Council President Donald Tusk has already urged some form of debt relief for Greece as part of any new loan deal.
Tusk, who will chair the emergency Eurozone meeting over the weekend said a realistic proposal from Greece will have to be matched by an equally realistic proposal on debt sustainability from its creditors.
"Otherwise we will continue the lethargic dance we have been dancing for the past five months," he said, Reuters reported.