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Greece Working on Reforms to Extend Bailout

  • VOA News

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addresses members of his leftist Syriza party in the parliament Feb. 17, 2015.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addresses members of his leftist Syriza party in the parliament Feb. 17, 2015.

Greek leaders worked Sunday on a package of economic reforms to present to their European creditors as part of the agreement to extend the Athens bailout for four months.

The lenders Friday gave Greece until Monday to present proposals aimed at reviving the country's faltering economy and cutting government spending in exchange for renewing the almost $300 billion in loans that are set to expire this week.

Nikos Pappas, the minister of state in the new leftist Greek government, said officials are working to make the government's civil service "more effective and to combat tax evasion."

But new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is facing some criticism over the bailout extension pact because he pledged as head of the Syriza party in January's election campaign to end the loan program and the austerity measures imposed by the lenders. Tsipras says the four-month extension will give Greek officials more time to negotiate with the creditors while keeping the country in the 19-nation euro currency bloc.

But one of Syriza's most respected members, 92-year-old World War Two resistance hero Manolis Glezos, attacked the concessions the new government's leaders made and said he is apologizing to the Greek people for "this illusion" that the austerity measures are ending.

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