Coalition leaders to meet again to discuss cuts, social impact

Greece’s coalition leaders are to meet again on Wednesday after holding inconclusive talks on Sunday evening relating to the 11.5 billion euros in spending cuts demanded by the troika.

Following their meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, PASOK’s Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left’s Fotis Kouvelis both stressed the need for the austerity measures to meet with the acceptance of voters, not just the troika.

Kouvelis went as far as suggesting that his party’s support for the measures should not be taken for granted.

“I am challenging for the measures to be fair, to ensure the financially weaker don’t suffer and for the measures to be part of a wider framework that would lead to growth,” said the leftist leader.

“The recession is deep and our European partners have to realize that Greece cannot take any more. The troika has to realize that its making demands of a society that is already in pieces.”

Venizelos said that he hoped the 11.5 billion euros in measures would secure an extension to Greece’s fiscal adjustment program. He also stressed the need for the social impact of the measures to be lessened.

“We are concerned that the detailing of the measures should happen based on criteria of social justice and support for growth.”

Venizelos, however, insisted that PASOK’s support for the coalition government was not wavering.

“There is no doubt about support for the government, there is however a question about support from society,” he said. “My relationship with Mr Samaras is excellent, as it is with Mr Kouvelis. There is a question about society’s cohesiveness and the economy’s strength to survive.”

The leaders met shortly after Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras held talks with troika representatives. The inspectors asked for more details on some of the costcutting measures proposed by the government.

Samaras is due to meet the troika on Monday, before talks with European Central Bank president Mario Draghi on Tuesday.


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