Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos stressed on Friday that the government would not impose new austerity measures such as cuts to pensions and salaries and that a deal with the troika would be reached by the middle of this month.
In comments during a session of the organizing committee for the foundation of a new movement to be called Democratic Alignment, Venizelos conceded that talks between Greece and the troika were very tough but noted that this was so as they are taking place "on two levels -- the financial and the political." The PASOK leader expressed his conviction that troika mission chiefs would return to Athens and that an agreement would be reached by December 15.
"We are awaiting the return of the troika," he said. "We have the ability to reach an agreement with the creditors before Christmas," he added. Venizelos also rejected reports of eurozone demands for a significant extension to Greece's bailout, by six months or more. "We are not talking about an extension of the program but a technical extension of procedures," he said.