Bloomberg News

Greek Talks on Two-Year Budget, Longer-Term Strategy to Continue

July 30, 2012

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his two coalition partners talked about longer-term strategy measures today, rather than deciding on the details of a two- year 11.5 billion-euro ($14 billion) budget plan.

“We discussed a strategic plan to deal with Greece’s commitments,” Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis said after the meeting in Athens. “We are faced with specific issues but also with a Greek society that can’t bear more weight.”

Talks on both topics will continue, Kouvelis said.

Samaras and his coalition partners, Kouvelis and Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos, must outline budget cuts for 2013 and 2014 to keep funds flowing from two European Union and International Monetary Fund bailouts totaling 240 billion euros.

The two-year “packet of measures is one of the three parameters that ensures the sustainability of Greece’s public debt,” Venizelos told reporters. “The other two parameters are of equal weight. One is to have stable growth rates and the second is to keep the nominal value of the debt consistent.”

Greece’s reform program was derailed after it held consecutive elections in May and June as public opposition to spending cuts grew. Representatives from the EU and IMF, originally due to leave at the end of July, will extend their visit until the government has completed work on the two-year plan, Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said.

“It’s important not to cancel our ability to negotiate and Greece’s ability to stay in the euro,” said Stournaras, who also attended the meeting. “We are trying to find the right mix of measures.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Marcus Bensasson in Athens at mbensasson@bloomberg.net; Natalie Weeks in Athens at nweeks2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net; Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net


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