PM meets coalition partners on measures

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met on Wednesday morning with his coalition partners -- socialist PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left chief Fotis Kouvelis -- for talks on a package of some 11.5 billion euros in austerity measures for 2013 and 2014 that have been demanded by Greece's foreign creditors -- the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, known as the troika.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, who spearheaded efforts to draw up the controversial package, was also attending the meeting after telling reporters on Tuesday evening that the measures had been finalized. The package is to be presented to troika envoys, due in Athens next week, for approval.

It appears that Samaras’s partners, who object to some of the proposed measures, including a proposed labor reserve scheme for civil servants, will probably accept Stournaras' proposals to avoid causing a rift in the government.

The strongest objections to the proposed package have been to a labor reserve scheme for civil servants and to additional wage cuts for certain categories of civil servants such as military and judicial staff and priests. According to sources, the greatest objections to the latter measure have come from conservative MPs and cabinet members -- including Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias and Defense Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos.


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