Greek talks on cuts continue: coalition partners
(ATHENS) - Government talks on Greek spending cuts worth 11.5 billion euros ($14 billion) needed to unlock EU-IMF loans will press on in the coming days, the coalition's junior partners said on Monday.
"The discussion continues, and will continue in the coming days," Fotis Kouvelis, head of the small Democratic Left party that supports the government, said after two hours of talks with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
"We are in complete agreement on the strategic planning to deal with problems," he told reporters.
"We are creating a strategic framework to take the country out of recession," said the coalition's third partner, socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos.
"All three leaders agree on this," he said.
"The fiscal adjustment must take into account the fact that the recession is deeper than what was anticipated by our European peers," Venizelos said.
Greece is under pressure to conclude the spending cuts to gain access to a 31.5-billion-euro slice of EU-IMF funding in September, when Athens might not have money to pay state salaries and pensions.
But additional cuts are expected to cause anger in a country still mired in a deep recession after two years of austerity.
According to reports, the savings would largely come from a cap on maximum pensions and cuts to health allowances and benefits.
They are to be submitted to auditors from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank whose report in September will determine Greece's continued access to loans.
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