Coalition leaders will meet again today to discuss austerity measures, following a day of rumours about juxtaposition and sideline activity that seemed to draw the first crisis in the three-party government.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has called the meeting to fine tune issues and debate the proposal coalition parties push forward for the extension of the bailout agreement and a two-phase implementation of the austerity package; EUR 6.7 billion worth of cuts pushed through in 2013 and 2014, with the remaining cuts saved for the following two years.
Saving harsh, horizontal measures for later is what Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis would like the government to do, to save face in front of their partisan colleagues. “Agreement on the strategic plan” has been the only quote coming from the coalition leaders meeting that could suggest a viable planning for the future. What they also agree on is that the country requires additional time to meet its debt targets.
Sources told Kathimerini that Samaras assured troika inspectors that the cuts would be agreed this week and set out in detail by next week. The Premier sees this as a vital part in securing a review from the troika that will be favorable enough to ensure the release of further loans from the Eurozone and the IMF.
Venizelos and Kouvelis, however, have growing reservations about agreeing to cuts to salaries and pensions. They argue that this would exacerbate Greece’s recession and threaten the government’s viability, as there would be a backlash against the measures.
Yesterday morning, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met with the troika representatives for clarifications on certain economic matters, ANA reports. The urgent meeting was also attended by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras and Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis.
The meeting with the troika follows Monday’s meeting of the government party leaders, which ended without firm final agreement on the measures that will be adopted to reduce the country’s deficit by EUR 11.5 billion. According to government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, the measures will be announced in August. No statements followed after the meeting.