Greek political leaders broadly agree on an austerity package demanded by the country’s lenders but have yet to decide on how to soften its impact on low-wage earners and pensioners, government officials and party leaders said on Wednesday.
Greece is under pressure to drum up the nearly €12 billion in cuts for the next two years to appease its lenders, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, who have put the latest tranche of aid to avert a Greek bankruptcy on hold.
The austerity package will be ready next week to be presented to the “troika” of inspectors from the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank (ECB), Greece’s finance minister Yannis Stournaras said.
“There is political agreement on the package,” Stournaras said after leaders of the three parties in Greece’s ruling coalition huddled together to discuss the plan. “The package will be sealed next week and presented to the troika.”
Merkel to meet Monti
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti are due to hold euro crisis talks in Berlin later on Wednesday.
The focus of their discussions will be “the situation in the euro zone and the economic development in Europe”, Merkel’s spokesman has said.
EU leaders are gearing up for an October 18-19 summit as well as other key meetings and decisions over the coming weeks as Spain;s plight again rises to the forefront of the three-year crisis.
On Tuesday, its debt-struck Catalonia region, responsible for one-fifth of Spanish economic output, said it was seeking a €5.0-billion ($6.3-billion) central government rescue.
Despite Madrid having secured a €100-billion euro zone rescue loan for its banks in June, analysts believe Spain’s high borrowing costs will still force it to seek a sovereign bailout before a repayment crunch in October.