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Close to agreement on Greek aid says Commissioner

Close to agreement on Greek aid says Commissioner
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Greece’s economic plight is no joke but that has not stopped their cartoonists from having a field day lampooning all and sundry about the mess.

Today the EU’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said member states and the IMF are just days away from completing talks with Athens on pumping in aid, conditional on Greece reducing its debt;

“The financial suppprt will give Greece a sufficient breathing space from the pressures of the financial markets to decisively restore the sustainability of its public finances and put the country back onto a a path of sustainable growth.”

It will be vital for Prime Minister George Papandreou to get the unions onside, as social unrest, already simmering in oppositon to austerity measures that will only get tougher, is likely to get even more strident. He met private sector union leaders today.

“Lenders are not only pressuring, they are blackmailing and won’t even accept to negotiate. We had a taste of a very difficult package of measures for the people, measures which are against development, measures that will cause recession,” said CGU leader Yannis Panagopoulos.

Cuts are likely to fall more on Greece’s bloated public sector than in the private sector, and as that is a source of many votes for the ruling Socialists, stiffened resistance there could be the kiss of death for economic reforms.

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