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Tsipras calls on ministers to speed up reforms

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Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told his cabinet on Monday that they are in a race against time to complete the bulk of the pending reforms agreed with the country's creditors by November so that Greece can wrap up the third review of its bailout and stay on course to exit the program in 2018.

Speaking to his ministers, Tsipras said that 80 percent of the pending reforms must be completed in November so the goal of exiting the bailout next year remains realistic.

"I would like us to have completed most of the reforms demanded under the third review by November, to avoid giving anyone excuses, at home or abroad," he said.
Tsipras appeared confident that no further measures will be required in 2018, and that the government will give out a social benefit at the end of the year.

"I believe we all realize, including our lenders, that at stake is the strengthening of growth," adding that "discussing further intensifying fiscal restrictions" could put that goal in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, Athens has its eye on the German elections as its outcome could impact developments in Greece and its bailout program.

If the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) party forms a coalition government with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Demcrats, it could bode ill for Athens as they have called for an end to financial assistance for Greece.

"This could make us miss [Finance Minister Wolfgang] Schaeuble," SYRIZA MEP Stelios Kouloglou said last week.

However, if Schaeuble were to remain in his post after the elections, the chances are that his tough stance on Greece wouldn't change.