Greece in ‘final stretch’ of talks: Varoufakis

Yanis VaroufakisCrisis-hit Greece is in the “final stretch” of negotiations with creditors and could reach agreement shortly, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis indicated Wednesday.

“We are entering the final stretch of negotiations — which we hope will be the last,” Varoufakis told reporters in Athens, expressing optimism over the outcome of discussions with European and IMF creditors.

Varoufakis spoke ahead of his departure to Brussels with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The pair will meet the leaders of the country’s international creditors later Wednesday, on the sidelines of a gathering of eurozone finance ministers.

Athens presented new reform proposals to its creditors on Monday in a bid to unlock the last tranche of bailout funds and avoid defaulting on its vast debts.

The proposals, which are mainly tax hikes, comprise austerity measures that will raise a total of almost 8.0 billion euros ($9.0 billion).

Athens hopes to generate savings of 2.692 billion euros in 2015 and 5.207 billion euros in 2016 via the plan, which has been welcomed by creditors and global markets.

Tsipras — who was elected on an anti-austerity platform in January — could face resistance over the proposals from members of his hard-left Syriza party, with some lawmakers criticising the latest concessions.

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