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Troika: Reforms must go forth!

The Greek parliament will need, by May, to approve  dozens of measures to make its economy more competitive, as condition for receiving further funds from the troika with which it resumed bailout talks on Monday.

Most of the measures are spelled out in a 324-page report submitted to Greek authorities in November by the OECD.

The 329 proposals generally aim to remove barriers and soften regulations in a string of markets from building materials and food to publishing and tourism, saving consumers and businesses about 5.2 billion euros a year, or 2.5 percent of Greek GDP.

Athens has pledged to implement about 80 percent of the proposals. But trade associations and lawmakers have protested, arguing they would lead to total deregulation and a collapse in the quality of products and services.

Here are some of the key proposals:

- Allow the blending of olive oils, a trademark national product, with other vegetable oils and allow its distribution to hotels and restaurants in packages bigger than 5 litres.

- Remove all third-party levies and fees such as a tax on advertising and levies on flour and cement.

- Fully liberalise Sunday trading.

- Lift a five-day restriction on the shelf life of milk.

- Liberalise prices and distribution of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements such as vitamins.

- Allow retailers to decide freely on discounts and timing of sales.

- Scrap barriers to investment in tourism activities, the country's biggest foreign currency earner, such as geographical restrictions or minimum quality requirements. Remove limits on tourist coach activities and restrictions on travel agent offices. Abolish any requirement for tourism businesses to seek prior price approval from authorities.

- Relax regulation of cruises by lifting a round-trip restriction on cruises leaving a Greek port. This would allow passengers to embark the cruise at a Greek port and disembark at another country. Lift a five-mile restriction on moorings, which would allow marina and yacht operators to compete with nearby commercial or fishing ports on price.

- Abolish strict licensing requirements in the asphalt sector. Also abolish minimum requirements for storage or minimum capital requirements in the building materials sector