Party leaders assess measures ahead of talks with PM

The leaders of Greece’s three coalition parties received on Wednesday morning the text of the outline agreement for a new bailout and are due to meet in the afternoon in an effort to reach consensus on the measures the government will have to adopt.

The drafts, which contain 32 pages setting out the reforms and fiscal targets the leaders will have to agree to, were delivered to the headquarters of PASOK, New Democracy and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) at about 9 a.m. The document also contains some extra pages explaining some of the measures proposed.

A meeting between PASOK’s George Papandreou, ND’s Antonis Samaras and LAOS chief Giorgos Karatzaferis with Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has been scheduled for 3 p.m. but this could change.

Papademos was involved in talks late on Tuesday with the representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund -- known as the troika -- on the steps it would take to save 3.3 billion euros.

One of the stumbling blocks that emerged on Tuesday was the troika’s new demands for cuts to basic pensions, which start at 360 euros per month, as well as supplementary ones.

New Democracy had wanted auxiliary pensions to drop no lower than 300 euros but it is believed that the troika proposed that if this level is to be maintained then basic pensions should be cut. The reductions on basic pensions may apply just to those above a certain level.

In an interview with Dow Jones Newswires on Tuesday, Samaras indicated he was unwilling to accept more cuts to pensions. 2My enemy is recession,» he said. «Pensions have already been cut. Slashing them further will lead to even deeper recession."

It is also though that the draft agreement proposes a 22 percent reduction to the minimum wage of 751 euros per month, which may be passed on to private sector employees who earn more than this amount.

Greece will also be required to reduce by 15,000 this year alone the number of people employed in the public sector.

Sources said that LAOS has asked for legal advice from the Supreme Court on whether some of the measures in the agreement are in line with the Greek constitution.

If the party leaders agree on Wednesday, then the troika officials are likely to hold talks with each of them individually to obtain their explicit commitment to the measures. It was not clear if this would involve written guarantees.

The new loan agreement would be submitted to Parliament on Friday and voted on two days later. According to sources, it will be submitted as a single amendment and the laws enforcing its various parts would be voted on in due course.

The Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers is due to meet on Thursday to assess any potential agreement in Greece.

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