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European Hopes Ride on Greek Reform Proposals

FILE - Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, center, speaks with Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, left, and French Finance Minister Michel Sapin during a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels, July 7, 2015.

Hopes — and stocks — are rising across Europe, now that a package of reforms proposed by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will pass muster with Greece’s international creditors.

French President Francois Hollande offered an early and strong endorsement of the reforms offered by the Greek government late Thursday, reportedly with some help from France.

Hollande described the Greek proposals as serious and credible, saying they demonstrated the country’s determination to remain part of the euro currency union. But he said nothing has yet been decided.

Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem described the package as a “comprehensive text” but did not comment on its content.

Officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund were meeting Friday to see if, as Dijsselbloem put it, “the math adds up.”

Saturday meeting

Finance ministers from the 19-member eurozone will then discuss the Greek proposals Saturday.

Analysts say the 13-page document contains some elements Athens previously rejected, like tax increases and some pension cuts.

Other Greek reform proposals include increasing the corporate tax base and eventually raising the retirement age to 67. In return, Athens wants a three-year bailout from the eurozone’s rescue fund.

Officials in Germany, one of the biggest skeptics and Greece’s biggest creditor, have so far made little comment.

Reactions from other eurozone members have been mixed.

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said there was chance for an agreement, but Slovakia’s Finance Minister Peter Kazimir tweeted that while there was progress on Greece, it wasn’t clear whether it was enough.