Greece remains top of Eurogroup agenda

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The Eurogroup are gathering in Brussels next week to discuss a recent letter of pledged reforms sent by Greece. The meeting will be the first since finance ministers of the Eurozone approved a four month extension to Athens, provided that the government goes ahead with reforms.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will be in attendance who put pressure on lenders to accept Athens’s latest reform proposals, stating that Greece may call new elections or hold a referendum if finance ministers reject the reform proposals.

The latest proposals submitted in writing by Greece to Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem suggested hiring tourists for temporary work as a means to covertly collect tax, prompted a confused response from EU officials. With Athens facing about €2 billion of bailout funds later this week, it needs to convince current international lenders to be willing to provide a further €7 billion.

The proposal that Greece might hold a referendum is the latest suggestion by the government of Alexis Tsipras to break the deadlock between Greece and the lenders that have financed the country for the past five years.

The European Central Bank is keeping the Greek financial system afloat, providing emergency funding through the Central Bank of Greece, still continuing to voice uncertainty about the Greek government’s policy. The ECB President Mario Draghi ruled out one of the demands of the Syriza party of raising the limit on the amount of Treasury bills that could be issued by Greece, on the grounds that the EU treaty prohibited monetary financing of governments.