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Junior partners in Greek government set to veto latest Troika demands

Left-leaning partners in the coalition are rejecting Troika demands to make it easier to sack workers.

Greek premier Antonis Samaras was all smiles in Brussels last week - but his bid to secure the latest batch of bailout loans from the Troika could end in failure.
Greek premier Antonis Samaras was all smiles in Brussels last week - but his bid to secure the latest batch of bailout loans from the Troika could end in failure.
Image: BERNAL REVERT/Belga

THE TWO SMALLER parties in the three-party Greek coalition government appear set to block the latest batch of reform and austerity measures being proposed by prime minister Antonis Samaras – putting the country at new risk of being refused bailout loans.

Both the socialist PASOK party and the smaller Democratic Left party say they will not back the latest proposals being brought forward by the EU-IMF Troika, which includes wage cuts and reduction in severance payments.

Both parties, which have links to the trade union movement, say they cannot approve the reforms being demanded of them – and therefore could vote against the €11.5 billion austerity package that the Troika wants in exchange for the latest bailout payments.

Xinhua cited local media reports which said the proposals from the Troika included demands to make it easier to sack workers, as well as looking to slash public pay and increase taxes across the board.

“I won’t accept or vote for the labour reforms the troika demands, and neither will the deputies of the Democratic Left,” said that party’s leader Fotis Kouvelis.

The number of seats held by Samaras’s New Democracy party and PASOK, previously the largest group, would be enough to carry the measures through parliament – but PASOK has also firmly rubbished the proposals.

The Wall Street Journal quoted its leader Evangelos Venizelos said the Troika’s demands were “unnecessary” and “provocative”, and claimed that the Labour reforms would not help Greece become more competitive.

Greece was meant to receive €31.5 billion in bailout aid during the summer, but the payment of the measures was delayed because of the political upheaval which saw two general elections held within two months.

The three parties in government are among the only ones in Greece who back the continued bailout agreement with the EU and IMF.

Read: If the EU were one country, it would be breaking its own budget rules

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Gavan Reilly

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