Arab Today, arab today greece submits new austerity package to auditors
Last Updated : GMT 06:58:51
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Greece submits new austerity package to auditors

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Arab Today, arab today Greece submits new austerity package to auditors

Athens - AFP

Greece has submitted its 11.5-billion-euro ($14.7 billion) austerity programme to its so-called troika of international auditors, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said in Athens on Monday. \"We have submitted the 11.5-billion (package) to the troika. A discussion and an evaluation are taking place,\" said Stournaras after attending a meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the troika. Greece is racing to finalise the new painful round of spending cuts for 2013 and 2014 necessary to unlock critical bailout loans that have been keeping its economy afloat. The troika, expected to remain in the Greek capital for several weeks, will determine whether Greece will be able to receive a much-needed 31-billion-euro instalment from its 130-billion-euro EU-IMF rescue loans. \"The measures are difficult,\" Stournaras added. \"We are trying to convince them (the troika) that our arguments are correct.\" Matthias Mors from the EU, Klaus Masuch from the European Central Bank (ECB) and Poul Thomsen from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who arrived in Athens last week, had their first meeting with Samaras on Monday. The mission has come to resume the audit it started at the end of July, monitoring the indebted country\'s progress regarding the implementation of reforms that are part of its bailout deal. The troika will accompany the Greek delegation to an informal meeting of eurozone finance ministers, scheduled to take place in Nicosia on Friday, a source from the finance ministry said on Sunday. Facing its fifth year of continuous recession, Greece is hoping for some \"breathing space\" that will give additional time to carry out the new painful measures. The package is reported to include slashing pensions by 3.5 billion euros, health cuts worth 1.47 billion euros as well as a 517-million-euro reduction in defence spending. The proposed cuts have caused friction within Samaras\' three-party coalition government, whose leaders failed to reach an agreement on the package at a meeting late on Sunday. \"We have not finished the plan because the troika has not accepted all of the Greek proposals,\" said leader of the PASOK socialist party Evangelos Venizelos after the talks. \"Europeans need to understand that the Greek people cannot take any more,\" said Fotis Kouvelis, head of moderate leftists Democratic Left. Venizelos added that disagreements focused on the proposed cuts to pensions and social benefits. The three leaders are scheduled to have another meeting on Wednesday. The proposed austerity programme has already caused public protests, with more than 12,000 people marching on Saturday in the northern city of Thessaloniki according to policy. Following a meeting with EU President Herman Van Rompuy in Athens on Friday, Samaras underlined that \"the resistance of the Greeks has reached its limit, which means we need a recovery as soon as possible.\" Van Rompuy, on the other hand, stressed that in order to obtain further support Greece has to deliver on its promises. Meanwhile, Samaras is scheduled to travel to Frankfurt on Tuesday to hold talks with European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi as part of a round of talks with European leaders to plead the country\'s case to spread out the spending cuts. Samaras held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande last month.

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