Gov't talks on savings to resume on Monday

rime Minister Antonis Samaras and his coalition partners, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis met on Thursday afternoon to discuss a proposed package of measures to the tune of 11.5 billion euros for 2013 and 2014 but were unable to reach a consensus on where the cuts should be made.

A fresh meeting is to be held on Monday after the leaders have convened with their parliamentary groups. It is hoped that they will be in a position by then to rubber-stamp the package of cuts put together by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras who met with representatives of Greece’s international creditors earlier in the day.

In the meantime, Samaras was meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday evening for talks expected to focus on Greece's reform efforts and the commission's pledges to seek to foster growth in Greece.

Speaking to reporters after the talks, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou insisted that the meeting had been “constructive.” “Everyone wants to contribute to achieving fiscal targets,” Mr. Kedikoglou said. “Everyone in this negotiation is seeking alternatives so that this can be achieved with social justice and without worsening the recession,” he said.

Venizelos, for his part, said that Greece would insist on a revision of its debt deal, focusing in particular on its demand for an extension to the fiscal adjustment period until the end of 2016. He added that there would be no new measures for this year and appeared to lash out at EU officials that want Greece to leave the euro, “If there are some who believe Greece must be sacrificed in order to save the eurozone, they are wrong,” he said, adding that such a development “would be suicide” for the single currency bloc.

Kouvelis, for his part, said that “efforts are continuing to tackle all these issues,” he said, adding that the government was seeking solutions that are “just.” “We have not finished,” he said, adding that a revision of the onerous terms of the debt deal and an extension of the fiscal adjustment period remained priorities.


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