Greeks promised austerity respite
Jul 19 2012
Greeks will be spared more austerity measures this year, parties backing the coalition government have promised, although they refused to rule out more painful cuts starting next year.
Leaders of three parties met to try to hammer out details of a new round of cuts worth 11.5 billion euros (£9 billion) demanded by international rescue creditors over the years 2013 and 2014. They also sought new measures to meet this year's deficit-cutting targets, which are slipping away.
Conservative prime minister Antonis Samaras met leaders of the Socialist party and small Democratic Left party after five days of cabinet-level talks failed to produce sufficient cuts.
When Mr Samaras won the June 17 election, ending months of political uncertainty, he promised to renegotiate the country's bailout terms, which include tough deficit-cutting measures. But he could be forced to eventually slash public benefits further to help cover the 11.5 billion euros in budget savings.
The party leaders promised to give weary Greeks a break. Democratic left leader Fotis Kouvelis said after the meeting: "We decided that there will be no new (austerity) measures in the year 2012." However, finance minister Yannis Stournaras refused to rule out more budget cuts next year.
Mr Kouvelis said the government's financial plans will be completed in coming days. "There will be a comprehensive proposal to request a renegotiation" of the country's bailout terms, he said. Greece would ask for more time to meet its deficit targets.
|Page 1 of 2||Next|