Greek coalition party leaders have agreed on all issues of a bailout plan expect one, and that’s about pensions.
But being close to a deal is not the same as having one in the bag and at stake is a 130 billion-euro rescue package needed to avoid a catastrophic default next month.
Leaving in the early hours, the leaders agreed to meet again before eurozone finance ministers get together in Brussels later today.
Conservative New Democracy Party leader, Antonis Samara explained his difficulties in signing off on the deal: “It’s the issue of pensions. During these difficult hours we have to think of the common people, the pensioners. I have an obligation to do this. I have an obligation to negotiate hard. And I am not concerned if some people misunderstand my position.”
It has taken seven hours of talks to get this far and some hard decisions have been made including agreeing a lower minimum wage.
Far right, Laos Party leader, George Karatzaferis was equally hesitant: “I respect the battle that has been waged by all the leaders but I cannot within one hour respond to something that will decide the future of the country for the next 40 or 50 years.”
But all the soul searching in the world is not going to make the deal any more palatable to Greek voters who are angry at the prospect of any more austerity measures.