Troika officials, who briefed Samaras on Friday on the outcome of their meetings in Athens, are due to leave on Sunday and return in late August or early September before compiling their long-awaited report.
The premier and his two coalition partners, socialist PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis of Democratic Left, are to meet on Monday to finalize a package of 11.5 billion euros in savings for 2013 and 2014.
In a meeting with troika chiefs on Friday, Venizelos emphasized that an extension of Greece’s fiscal adjustment period until the end of 2016 is the only way the country can make the necessary reforms without “perpetuating the recession.” The socialist chief and Kouvelis both object to planned cuts to pensions and benefits although they do not seem to have countermeasures to propose.
As the government struggles with reforms, European policymakers are reportedly working on a “last-chance” scenario to keep Greece in the eurozone. According to Reuters, the ECB and national central banks are considering taking major losses on the value of their bond holdings in a bid to reduce Greece’s debts by 70 to 100 billion euros. Private creditors accepted big write-downs on their Greek bonds in March but this failed to put the economy back on track.
Underscoring concerns about the deepening euro crisis, candidate state Latvia said Greece should exit the bloc as it is delaying its recovery. “One ought to as soon as possible find a way to throw Greece out of the eurozone with as little damage as possible,” Latvian Finance Minister Andris Vilks told state radio.