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Greece, lenders exchange plans as deadline looms

A reform plan sent by Greece to its lenders has been welcomed by the EU's executive as a "good sign." But, Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem says progress made is still "not really enough" to unlock fresh bailout funds.

European Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt confirmed on Tuesday that "many documents are being exchanged" between the lenders and Greece.

"The fact that documents are being exchanged is a good sign," she added, referring to four months of stalemate in finding a deal likely to require tough reforms in Greece before it receives 7.2 billion euros ($7.8 billion) from an existing bailout.

Dijsselbloem, who is also Dutch finance minister, told Dutch television, however, that talks between Greece, the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had produced "some progress, but it's really not enough."

"The bottom line is not that we can meet each other halfway; the whole package must be solid," he told RTL television.

Greece under its leftist government elected early this year faces a Friday deadline to repay over 300 million euros ($328 million) it owes to the IMF.

Overall, it needs to repay the IMF 1.6 billion euros by the end of this month, money that it is thought to lack.

'Realistic plan' submitted, says Tsipras

Earlier on Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras did not provide details but said Athens had on Monday night submitted a "realistic plan for Greece to exit the crisis" to the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Commission and the IMF.

"The decision rests with the political leadership of Europe," Tsipras added.

And, Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis said Greece could not bear more austerity and instead wanted a "more serviceable" bailout.

A Greek government source quoted by the news agency AFP said the draft agreement had 46 pages.

A senior EU official in Brussels was quoted on Tuesday evening by Reuters as saying that the commission, the ECB and the IMF had agreed on their terms for a cash-for-reform deal. But, it was not clear whether Tsipras' government would accept the creditors' plan.

Crisis talks in Berlin overnight

Late of Monday, the heads of the IMF, the European Central Bank as well as the leaders of Germany, France and the commission held emergency talks on the Greek debt crisis in Berlin.

A European source close to the talks quoted by AFP said a key delaying factor was the timeframe. Any deal to unlock fresh cash would require parliamentary approval in several eurozone nations.

"The parliament timeline is the problem," the source said.

Greek officials quoted by Reuters said the IMF was the toughest in demanding Greek pension cuts and opposing any restoration of collective wage bargaining.

Greek banks solvent, says ECB supervisor

Since 2010, under previous governments, Greece has received two EU/IMF bailouts totaling 240 billion euros.

Earlier this year, it lost access to capital markets to obtain loans, after admitting that it had issued erroneous figures for years concealing the true scale of its budget debt.

The ECB's top banking supervisor, Danièle Nouy, said Tuesday Greek banks remained solvent despite deposit outflows and the government's cash squeeze.

EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told French radio on Monday that there had been "serious progress" in the Greek debt talks but that there was still work to be done.

ipj/kms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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