Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 11th 2015 Contents JUNE 2015 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
INTERNATIONAL | BG21
Greece has submitted a revised reform
plan to the European Union (EU)
and International Monetary Fund
It comes days after Greek Prime Minister Alexis
Tsipras rejected a set of reforms put forward by EU
Commission President Jean Claude Juncker.
The EU and IMF want further economic reforms
before they release €7.2bn (£5.3bn) of bailout funds.
It is believed Athens has conceded ground on VAT
reforms, pensions and the country s primary surplus
The reform plan comes a day before Tsipras meets
the French president and German chancellor.
Last week, Greece "bundled up" a €300m (£221m)
payment to the IMF, delaying the payment until the
end of June when a total of €1.5bn is due to be paid.
Among the plans being put forward by the gov-
ernment, it is believed Greece is willing to increase
VAT, but still maintain three rates: a standard rate,
a reduced rate for food and medicine and a further
reduced rate for books and hotel accommodation.
The government has proposed increasing its three
rates of VAT, according to Greek newspaper
Athens is also willing to move closer to creditor
demands over the primary surplus as well, the news-
The EU and IMF want the economy to run a pri-
mary surplus of one per cent of GDP this year and
two per cent next year. Athens prefers a target of 0.6
per cent of GDP this year and one per cent next year.
Time running out
Another possible measure being put forward is
thought to include a proposal to increase pensioner
contributions to healthcare from four per cent of
their monthly income to six per cent.
Creditors "are now in the process of studying" the
list of "counter-proposals", sources told the AFP news
Tsipras warned earlier on Tuesday that a failure
to reach a deal on Greece s bailout, which expires at
the end of the month, would be the beginning of the
end for the eurozone.
He is due to meet Germany s Angela Merkel and
France s Francois Hollande on the sidelines of an EU-
Latin America summit in Brussels on Wednesday.
Speaking at the G7 Summit in the Bavarian Alps
in Germany, Merkel echoed the Greek premier s sen-
timents, warning that time was running out for a
deal to keep Greece in the eurozone.
Europe would show solidarity but only if Greece
"makes proposals and implements reforms", she said.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, mean-
while, said it was time to stop finger-pointing and
find an agreement.
The counter-proposals arrived two days after Junck-
er complained the Greek prime minister had not ful-
filled a pledge made at a meeting last week to send
Brussels his plans.
He also accused Tsipras of failing to respect "min-
imal rules" in their negotiations and refused to take
a call from the Greek leader at the weekend, saying
the Greek prime minister had to submit the promised
alternative reform plan first. AP
Greece submits new
reform plan to EU, IMF
A lottery vendor reads a flyer as tourists use an ATM of a bank in Athens, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. Greek
officials say they have made new proposals aimed to strike a quick deal with bailout creditors and unlock
vitally needed rescue funds. (AP)
Put it down in the category of "who would ve thought it." New data
shows that the battered Eurozone posted stronger economic growth
from January through March than did the United States.
Data released Tuesday from Eurostat said that first-quarter growth among
the 19 nations that use the euro as their currency was 0.4 per cent over the
prior three months. That tops the US growth rate in the same period, which
shrunk to 0.7 per cent for the quarter, after a first estimate of anemic 0.2 per
That Europe is growing again is good news for the United States, since it
counts the region as an important trading partner. Consumer spending is boosting
demand in Europe, which is good news for US companies operating in the region.
However, the strengthening US dollar is making American goods and services
more expensive abroad, contributing to a soft US economy and providing a
headwind for US exports to Europe. The decline in the value of euro did little
to help Eurozone exports in the first quarter, as they slowed amid a sluggish
The European Union has been lumbering through a years-long debt crisis and
the potential exit of Greece. Back to back quarters with 0.4 per cent growth
amount to the best quarterly growth rates since the second quarter of 2013,
analysts said. It s hardly stellar growth, but it s not a zone going backwards any
"Limited global growth is currently limiting the upside for Eurozone exports,
but we expect this to improve later on in 2015 and, particularly, in 2016," said
Howard Archer, European economist for forecaster IHS Global Insight, in an
"However, the upside for growth in a number of Eurozone countries continues
to be limited by relatively poor competitiveness amid ongoing significant structural
Events in Greece could weigh down on Eurozone sentiment and growth if
there is a Greek default or even ultimate exit from the Eurozone, he added.
Barring any shocks, Archer sees the Eurozone growing at an annual rate of
1.5 per cent, about a percentage point less than the 2.5 per cent growth rate
many economists are now projecting for the US economy for 2015.
McClatchy Washington Bureau
A pedestrian passes
the map of Greece
that decorated the
front store of a
tourist office in
Athens, on Tuesday,
June 9, 2015. Greek
officials say they
have made new
proposals aimed to
strike a quick deal
creditors and unlock
rescue funds. (AP)
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