Arab Today, arab today greek leaders \searching for fresh cuts\
Last Updated : GMT 16:00:00
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Greek leaders \'searching for fresh cuts\'

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Greek leaders \'searching for fresh cuts\'

Athens - AFP

Talks on 11.5 billion euros ($14.3 billion) in savings needed to unlock EU and IMF loans to prevent bankruptcy will continue, a member of Greece\'s government coalition said on Wednesday. \"The effort to identify the cuts continues,\" Fotis Kouvelis, head of the moderate Democratic Left party, told reporters after two hours of talks with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. \"We are trying to avoid horizontal cuts,\" Kouvelis said, referring to across-the-bord cuts. On Tuesday, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said the government had settled on the package of measures after a meeting with Samaras held to \"coordinate government policy and an action timetable.\" But Samaras has yet to convince Kouvelis and his third coalition partner, socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos, on the full scope of measures. \"The basic scenario has been finalised,\" the finance minister said after Wednesday\'s meeting, adding that certain \"minor issues\" remained. The PM\'s coalition partners are balking at planned cuts to pensions and benefits and reductions in the pay of army and police staff, which Samaras\' party had pledged to defend before coming to power in June. Kouvelis also said the government should not carry out planned cuts in local council funds as council staff in Athens kicked off a two-day strike on Wednesday, claiming that municipal services were close to collapse. \"Major cuts to local council (funds) are unacceptable,\" Kouvelis said. The new cuts, designed to apply over the next two years, are essential for Greece to secure a loan instalment of 31.5 billion euros, part of a 130-billion-euro bailout from the EU and the IMF, to keep its economy afloat. Athens is also hoping to receive a two-year extension that will enable the recession-struck country to carry out its programme of spending cuts and asset sales through 2016 instead of by the end of 2014.

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