Greece’s Government Partners Still Seek Consensus on 11.5 Billion Euro Package

Posted by in Economy

Greece’s coalition government partners hold meeting after meeting while seeking consensus in a series of several expenditure cuts, as dictated by the Troika. Target is to present the country’s lenders with a thorough austerity package, worth 11. billion euro for the years 2013-2014.

The meeting among PM Samaras, PASOK-leader Venizelos and Democratic-Left-head Kouvelis on Wednesday morning may have lasted two hours, but the political leaders were unable to agree. Venizelos and Kouvelis oppose horizontal cuts.

The “hot potatoes” of wages cuts in special payrolls (military, police, judges, academics, state hospital doctors, priests), the labour reserve, cuts in pensions were jumping from hand to hand and no political leader wanted to take any political risk given also the opposition within the own parties.

The Greek government is under pressure as the list of saving measures should reach the Eurogroup meeting on September 1th 20112. Greek Samaras is scheduled to present the package to the Troika next week.

Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras told the media, that the program is mainly ready except some minor issues still open. However Venizelos and Kouvelis said that the program has not been worked out yet.

After the meeting withSamaras, Venizelos said that “further discussion was required” and that “efforts were needed to protect low-income citizens”. He covered the bitter pill with a golden foil: “There will be more cuts and sacrifices but they will be fair,” Venizelos said, adding that the program will take the country out of the tunnel, it will put an end to the catastrophic scenarios about Greek euro exit and that there will be development and combating the tax evasion. (more in in.gr)

Kouvelis said also discussion on the measures were continuing and reiterated his «categorical opposition» to horizontal cuts.

The meetings between the three political leaders will continue.