Greece coalition partners 'want more time' to implement cuts

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Greece coalition partners 'want more time' to implement cuts

Greece coalition partners 'want more time' to implement cuts
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Reports from Greece say allies of the Prime Minister Antonis Samaras want two more years to implement unpopular austerity measures demanded by international creditors.

The coalition’s three parties have agreed on most of the 12 billion euros in cuts to satisfy inspectors from the EU and the IMF bailing out the country.

But left-wing partners want more time.

“The issue is to make sure that the choices we make do not destroy the possiblity of re-negotiation, and above all don’t destroy the possibility of Greece remaining in the eurozone,” said Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.

Monday saw more evidence of the austerity plan in practice when Greek bank employees staged a 24 hour strike.

The assets of the state lender ATEbank are to be taken over by the country’s fourth largest lender Piraeus Bank.

“Jobs are insecure and our social security rights are in danger. On top of that, we believe this is the biggest scandal in Greece: a state bank is being sold-off to the private sector even though it’s healthy,” said Kostas Amoutzias of the ATEbank employees union.

However ATEbank failed European stress tests and is thought to need a capital injection of up to five billion euros.

EU sources said in June that the Commission wanted Greece to wind down certain banks.

Inspectors from the EU and IMF troika are visiting Athens to monitor the country’s progress in meeting the terms of its latest bailout package.