Δημοσίευση 1 Φεβρουαρίου 2012, 14:42 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:44
PM to seek vital consensus with leaders
With pressure building on Greece to reach a deal with private bondholders on a crucial debt swap and with foreign creditors on a second bailout, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is to hold the latest in a series of meetings with the leaders of the parties in his fragile coalition on Wednesday or Thursday in a bid to forge a consensus on a tough new austerity program. Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with Kathimerini, Poul Thomsen, the head of the Greek delegation of the International Monetary Fund -- one of the country’s three foreign creditors -- indicated that the 13th and 14th salaries in the private sector need not be cut if authorities lower the minimum wage and move ahead with closing down state-backed entities, leading to job cuts in the broader civil service. “If there is bold structural reform that convinces us that wages will adjust without direct intervention then this will not be necessary,” Thomsen said when asked about the possible abolition of the 13th and 14th salaries. The IMF official added that the creditors demand guarantees from the three party leaders in the coalition that they will to stick to the program agreed. He added that Greece could remain in the euro and that claims of Greek character weaknesses were unjustified. “The suggestions that Greece is not in a position to adjust because bad management, tax evasion, corruption and so on are in the Greek DNA is unacceptable and is an insult to citizens who have already sacrificed a lot,” he said. Papademos is due to meet Thomsen and envoys from the European Commission and European Central Bank on Friday, but is first to have talks with party leaders. He is expected to present the party leaders with the positions of his EU peers, set out to him at Monday’s summit in Brussels, and to explain which Greek objections they are prepared to accept. Unresolved issues include possible wage cuts, cuts to auxiliary pensions and the recapitalization of banks. If a deal is reached, it will be presented at a summit of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels next Monday, paving the way for the approval of a second bailout and the debt swap. Meanwhile, Finance Ministry sources said they had determined how to plug a budget shortfall of 4.2 billion euros. The majority will be covered through the reduction of state spending on medicines, with cuts to defense spending and the merging of state-backed entities making up the difference.