Greece's leftist government has offered its biggest concessions so far in a race to remove roadblocks in crunch talks with lenders on a cash-for-reforms package. As Sonia Legg reports, the government's under pressure after a new poll showed over three-quarters of Greeks feel Athens must strike a deal at any cost to stay in the euro.
The re-opening of Greece's state broadcaster after two years was a symbolic move. It had been an election promise by the ruling Syriza party. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) JOURNALIST, ANDREAS PAPASTAMATIOU, SAYING: "For a political party to keep a promise in Greece is an event in itself, we should celebrate and remember that." The decision came at a pivotal moment. The government has offered its biggest concessions so far in an attempt to overcome bailout obstacles between Athens and its European lenders. Both sides are talking again about which reforms Greece will turn into legislation in exchange for aid. The sale of a majority stake in its two biggest ports is one possible, as is value-added tax rates and changes to pensions. That's been a particular bone of contention as the system in Greece is more generous than in some of the lending countries. A new poll also shows that three-quarters of Greeks now want their government to strike a deal - at any cost - to stay in the euro. So is Athens ready to back down? IG's Alastair McCaig. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IG MARKET ANALYST, ALASTAIR MCCAIG, SAYING: "The fact that the Greek finance minister has stepped aside from this latest round of negotiations is perhaps an indication that the Greek government has realised that the aggressive nature with which they had embarked on in order to fight their corner was ultimately proving to be pretty fruitless." Government talk of a referendum if there's an impasse with lenders hasn't helped. But Andrea Williams from London Royal Asset Management says investors remain optimistic. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANDREA WILLIAMS, ROYAL LONDON ASSET MANAGEMENT, SAYING: "I still think it's very uncharted territory. Nobody really knows what the consequences of a Greek exit might be. I don't think they will be good but it's probably a bit more manageable than it was a few years ago. We don't think they'll exit - they'll cobble something together." Ratings agency Moody's has added to the pressure by cutting Greece's credit rating even deeper into junk territory. They're increasingly worried Athens may not reach a deal in time to meet upcoming debt repayments. The next deadline is May 12.