'Positive response' from Eurogroup chief to Greek reform letter

Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem at the EU Parliament in Brussels on February 24, 2015 (AFP Photo/John Thys)

Athens (AFP) - Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem has responded "positively" to a Greek letter proposing a series of reforms in return for further financial aid, a Greek government official said Saturday.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis sent the letter to Dijsselbloem on Friday, ahead of a crucial meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Monday.

The letter, a copy of which was seen by AFP, outlines seven major reforms to convince creditors to unlock the next tranche of much-needed bailout money.

Dijsselbloem "responded positively to the Greek minister" on Friday evening, said the source.

The proposed measures include plans to streamline bureaucracy, raise revenue from online gambling and, in a suggestion that drew scorn on social media, a plan to hire amateur tax sleuths -- such as tourists -- to help clamp down on tax avoidance.

The Greek government official also said that the head of the eurozone finance ministers' group had underlined the need for talks to continue with senior eurozone officials and between technical teams in order to move forward with an agreement reached last month to extend Greece's bailout until the end of June in return for reforms.

Varoufakis told reporters on Saturday he was "optimistic" about Monday's talks.

Greece's new hard-left government has until April to present reform proposals to its EU-IMF creditors.

Athens is scrambling to find cash to address a daunting repayment schedule, with over 6.0 billion euros ($6.8 billion) falling due this month.