greek coalition pushed to finalise austerity plan by friday
Last Updated : GMT 13:13:56
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Greek coalition pushed to finalise austerity plan by Friday

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Arab Today, arab today Greek coalition pushed to finalise austerity plan by Friday

Athens - AFP

Greece\'s coalition government must finalise around 11.5 billion euros in further budget cuts in time to present a completed plan to eurozone partners on Friday, a finance ministry official said. The semi-official Athens News Agency quoted the official as saying that a \"completed plan\" on the cuts, worth $15.2 billion, had to be submitted to Friday\'s informal meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Cyprus. A final plan on the cuts for 2013 and 2014 must be submitted \"regardless of whether an agreement has been reached with the troika\" about the cuts, added the official. Greece is racing to finalise the new package of spending cuts necessary to unlock critical bailout loans that have been keeping its economy afloat. A review mission from the so-called troika of Greece\'s creditors -- the EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank -- is currently in Athens and will determine whether the country will be able to receive further bailout loans needed to avoid a default. The chief auditors had their first meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Monday.  \"We have submitted the 11.5-billion-euro (package) to the troika,\" Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said after the meeting, which he also attended. Samaras and Stournaras submitted the spending cuts package despite the fact that the three-party government coalition still has not agreed on all the details. Stournaras said \"a discussion and an evaluation are taking place.\" The finance ministry official cited by the Athens News Agency described Monday\'s talks as \"tough\", saying the troika objects to measures to put public sector employees on temporary leave and insists they be fired. Greece is racing to finalise the new package of spending cuts 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 package. \"The measures are difficult,\" Stournaras added after the meeting. \"We are trying to convince them (the troika) that our arguments are correct.\" 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.  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 cuts are 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 the police. Samaras is scheduled to hold talks with European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi in Frankfurt on Tuesday, 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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greek coalition pushed to finalise austerity plan by friday greek coalition pushed to finalise austerity plan by friday

 



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