Greek leaders strike deal on bailout reforms 

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Greek leaders strike deal on bailout reforms 

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Greece’s coalition party leaders have reached a deal on tough austerity measures to keep the country afloat, the office of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said in a statement.

The agreement should ensure Greece receives a fresh bailout of 130-billion euros ($172 billion).

“The consultations between the government and the troika on the issue which remained open for further discussion were successfully completed this morning. The political leaders agreed on the outcome of these talks,” Papademos’ office said.

“There is broad agreement on the content of the new programme ahead of today’s Eurogroup meeting,” the statement added.

Athens’ partners in the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have been exasperated by a lack of agreement on the sacrifices they demanded in return for the bailout.
Last night Greece’s leaders came close to agreeing a pact to avoid a painful default, and a possible eurozone exit, but the issue of pensions was a sticking point.
Athens faces debt repayments of around 15-billion euros in just over a month and a disorderly default could plunge the eurozone into another deep crisis.

Euro zone officials said the full package must be agreed with Greece and approved by the EU, IMF and European Central Bank by February 15 so legal paperwork can be completed in time.

For the bailout, Athens must accept conditions requiring big cuts in many Greeks’ living standards. That did not sit well with many politicians. Greece’s Deputy Labour Minister Yannis Koutsoukos resigned over the new austerity measures.

Koutsoukos, a member of the Socialist PASOK party, said he was quitting because the measures were not only “tough”, but also “painful for working people”.

Greece’s two major trade unions called a 48-hour strike for Friday and Saturday against the reforms.

“The painful measures that create misery for the youth, the unemployed and pensioners do not leave us much room,” secretary general of the ADEDY union, Ilias Iliopoulos, said. “We won’t accept them. There will be a social uprising.”