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live Greek leaders have again postponed the adoption of austerity measures

06 February 2012 / 19:02:04  GRReporter
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Later on, Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos will have another meeting with representatives of the supervisory Troika. The new meeting of the leaders of Greek political parties has been postponed for tomorrow. According to commentators, George Papandreou, Antonis Samaras and George Karatzaferis are a step away from the final agreement, which they are expected to reach during tomorrow's meeting at the Prime Minister's residence.

Sources inform that the meeting between them last night was quite dramatic and there were intense dialogues, and it because of their effort to create specific impressions in Greek society. I.e. to convince it in practice that they would be forced to accept the austerity measures because the former government and former finance minister were not strict and firm in the negotiations with Greece’s creditors.

At one point, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said, "If you are not willing, you should take up with the negotiations." It seems that he has managed to reach an initial agreement precisely with this warning. Lucas Papademos gave the leaders a text, on the base of which parties should send their proposals by the end of the day. The talks are focused on issues relating to the reduction of wages, recapitalization of banks and how to fill the budget gap for 2012.

"The Prime Minister and political leaders of the three parties that support the government met to take a joint decision on the main points in the agreement with the supervisory Troika in connection with the new economic programme of Greece, which is the base for the new financial bailout to the country," reads the Communication of the Prime Minister’s office. According to it, Lucas Papademos and the three party leaders have agreed to take measures of limiting government spending to the amount of 1.5% of GDP. Simply said, this means the dismissal of 15,000 civil servants from the wider public sector within two months. Among other issues discussed is the cut of auxiliary pensions, increasing competitiveness by reducing wages and recapitalization of Greek banks.

On leaving the Prime Minister's residence Maximou, LAOS leader George Karatzaferis stated ambiguously, "I will not take part in starting a revolution of poverty, which will then burn all of Europe."

New Democracy president Antonis Samaras even said, "They want more than the country can withstand. I am fighting hard to stop this." Representatives of the 'blue' claim that their leader has managed to "take back" the 13th and 14th salaries and to prevent the increase in property tax assessments. Antonis Samaras did not accept most of the requirements of the Troika’s representatives for the auxiliary pensions and negotiated on the amount of the minimum wage too. The leader of New Democracy struggled for the lump sum payment upon retirement and managed to "save" Greek consumers from a new electricity price increase.

Under the pretext that he will lead the party for a very short period and cannot decide alone, George Papandreou called a meeting of the Political Council of PASOK involving Evangelos Venizelos, Andreas Loverdos, George Koutroumanis, Dimitris Repas, Michalis Chrysochoidis and other ministers.

George Karatzaferis convened a meeting of the parliamentary group of LAOS too. According to party representatives, the political leaders discussed mostly employment issues during the meeting. They announced the conviction of the leader of the far right that creditors are not pushing Greece into bankruptcy.

Regardless of the communication game of who has been "able" to make the Troika step back, it is expected that especially severe measures, which will be adopted, will accelerate internal party and political events. It is believed that the discussion of the date of early parliamentary elections is back on the agenda.

Commentators believe that Greeks should expect the introduction of more austerity measures since the signing of the agreement would ensure only the first tranche of the new loan. Creditors will bind the payment of any subsequent tranche with the results from the strict control on the application of measures.

According to unconfirmed reports, the possibility of repairing the composition of the Greek cabinet was discussed at the meeting after George Karatzaferis renewed his proposal to make a small team on the example of the government of Mario Monti in Italy.

The Communist Party and the far-left coalition SYRIZA have organized protests today gainst the economic measures and the government. For security reasons, Syntagma and Evangelismos subway stations will be closed at 6 pm. Trade unions of public and private sector employees have called for a general strike for tomorrow.

Tags: PoliticsMeeting of political leadersLucas PapademosAusterity measuresDismissals in public sectorMinimum wage reductionStrike
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