Arab Today, arab today greek coalition agrees on main points of cuts
Last Updated : GMT 12:27:42
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Greek coalition agrees on main points of cuts

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Arab Today, arab today Greek coalition agrees on main points of cuts

Athens - AFP

Greece\'s three-party coalition government agreed on Thursday on the \"main points\" of a 13.5-billion-euro ($17.4 billion) austerity package, tied to the release of vital EU-IMF rescue loans. \"We have agreed on the main points,\" Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said after the end of the meeting, adding that the agreement of the so-called \'troika\' of international creditors and that of EU peers was necessary. \"We agreed on the main points, but there are issues that are still pending,\" said Fotis Kouvelis, leader of the government\'s junior partner Democratic Left. Socialist partner Evangelos Venizelos said that Greece had to secure a delay for implementation of the fiscal adjustment programme before the package was presented to parliament for a vote. \"It is very important for the measures to be carried out until 2016,\" Venizelos said in a televised address. \"The main points have to become more specialised and the criterion in order to do that is the time (we will have) for the implementation (of the programme),\" he added. \"We have to embark on an intense political negotiation at a high level,\" he said, adding that \"time is running against us.\" According to the finance ministry, the package includes 11.5 billion euros in state spending cuts and two billion euros in additional tax revenue. Greece\'s so-called \'troika\' of creditors -- the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank -- had given the government a week to finalise the cuts. They are expected to return to Athens by early next week and the government hopes to have the package ready before a meeting by eurozone finance ministers on October 8. The austerity package is designed to unblock access to 31.5 billion euros in loans, part of Greece\'s massive rescue package from the so-called troika of creditors -- the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank. Athens needs the money to pay state salaries and pensions, recapitalise Greek banks hit by a state debt rollover and repay more than six billion euros owed to private contractors. Samaras\' allies have been trying to mitigate the cuts, pointing to mounting anger in Greece after two prior years of austerity. A wave of sectors from doctors and lawyers to teachers and even state security staff have staged strikes and walkouts this month against the new measures. The protests have even hit the finance ministry, where staff were holding a two-day strike starting Thursday against planned salary cuts. On Wednesday, police clashed with masked youths in Athens during a general strike and demonstrations that drew some 34,000 people to the city centre. The youths threw firebombs, smashed shop windows and set fire to garbage in the streets around central Syntagma Square. Another 18,000 people protested in the northern city of Thessaloniki according to police.

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