The Courier-Mail

Greece fighting reforms

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ATHENS: Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has attacked creditors for insisting on “absurd” reforms which have held up negotiatio­ns for a deal aimed at preventing Greece defaulting on its national debt.

“The lack of an agreement is due to the insistence of certain institutio­nal actors on submitting absurd proposals and displaying a total indifferen­ce to the recent democratic choice of the Greek people,” Mr Tsipras said.

Greece has been locked in talks with its creditors – the European Union, the Internatio­nal Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank – in a bid to unlock $7.9 billion in bailout funds.

However, a deal has proved elusive so far as the creditors are demanding greater reforms in the Greek economy in return for the cash, which Mr Tsipras’s government, elected on an anti-austerity bill, has refused to match.

Mr Tsipras said his government had made concession­s, including agreeing to implement a series of privatisat­ions that it had opposed previously.

It also agreed to reform the tax system and to increase real retirement age.

Rather than imposing further austerity measures that have so far only driven Greece deeper into recession, he said his government had submitted proposals to raise revenues.

These include a special tax on the very wealthy, greater efforts towards clamping down on tax evasion and putting broadcasti­ng and other licences up for tender.

Taking a more conciliato­ry approach, Economy Minister Yiorgos Stathakis said the country should make a deal with internatio­nal creditors.

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