Greece reaches agreement on further austerity cuts

Thursday 02 August 2012 15.36
Agreement reached on third meeting of coalition partners
Agreement reached on third meeting of coalition partners

Greek political leaders have reached agreement on €11.5 billion of austerity cuts demanded under its bailout programme.

The junior partners in the conservative-led coalition government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras set aside demands for an immediate renegotiation of the terms of the bailout deal.

Greek Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos said Greece must demand more time to achieve targets under its bailout package, but he was setting aside his request for now in the interest of the country.

Party leaders had been struggling to find agreement on the cuts for weeks, with Mr Venizelos insisting on spreading them out over four years instead of making them by 2013 and 2014 as required under the terms of the country's bailout.

Officials close to Mr Samaras said he had made clear to his political partners that Greece had no choice but to agree to the measures now and renegotiate later.

With €3.2bn worth of bond payments due this month, the clock is ticking for Greece to please visiting troika inspectors, who will rule on whether Athens gets more cash from its €130bn bailout.

Greek officials say Athens has fallen behind because of a deeper than expected recession.

Lenders blame the slow implementation of growth-boosting reforms and say the programme must be given a chance to succeed before being adapted.

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