The meeting comes as tens of thousands of protestors shouting “enough is enough” took part in trade union rallies and marches organised in central Athens yesterday, as part of a 24-hour nationwide strike in protest against a new package of austerity measures.
According to Mega channel, if the package of measures is approved today in the meeting between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis, an announcement should be expected by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras early next week. Then the Premier will address Greeks through a televised message to explain that this is the last action in the austerity front and that the government will put a great effort to ensure a fair tax system and to receive the next installment of the bailout agreement.
According to protothema.gr, the government is now facing the new conditions created by the disagreement between the EU and the IMF about the debt crisis in the Eurozone and the Greek case. PM Antonis Samaras believes that time is against our country and seeks an agreement with his coalition partnerns in today’s meeting.
The possibility the disbursement of the next tranche of EUR 31.5 billion to be postponed for the end of November seems a nightmare. Samaras insists that the decision for disbursement should be made before the EU Summit on 18 October and then an urgent Eurogroup should convene for remaining details. The Premier wants to avoid the disbursement of the tranche to enter the debate between the EU and the IMF as regards tackling the crisis in the Eurozone and the sustainability of the Greek debt. The IMF insists that the Greek debt is unsustainable and requires its further restructuring with some significant additional funding.
Meawhile, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras briefed PASOK and DIMAR yesterday on the content of the package. Stournaras is planning to implement EUR 7.5 billion of cuts next year, with the rest coming in 2014 or spread over a longer period if Greece is granted an extension to its consolidation period, Kathimerini writes.
DIMAR’s economic policy spokesman Dimitris Chatzisokratis said that his party objected to some of the measures in the package, such as the civil service sackings and raising the minimum number of working years needed for retirement from 15 to 20. The leftist party is also concerned at plans to cut farmers’ low-level pensions by 30 euros per month. DIMAR’s opposition means that it is unlikely that the coalition leaders will agree on the final version of the package today, according to the paper.