NEWS

PM says negotiations with troika are over

The office of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday afternoon issued a statement saying that negotiations with Greece's creditors are over and a deal has been reached with inspectors from the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank -- known as the troika -- over the country's fiscal adjustment program.

Samaras's office said the negotiations with the troika have been concluded «successfully» and that «significant improvements were made."

"Today we concluded negotiations over the measures and the budget,» the statement read. «We did everything we could. We exhausted all the limits of pressure and time. We achieved significant improvements even in the final hour."

The draft budget for 2013 is due to go before Parliament on Wednesday, while the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers will be holding a teleconference on the same day to decide on the disbursement of a 31.5 billion-euro tranche of bailout funding for Greece as the Euro Working Group entered a second day of talks in Brussels on Tuesday over Greece.

"Provided that the deal is approved and the budget is voted through, Greece will remain in the euro,» Samaras's announcement said.

Samaras aides and key ministers have been ratcheting up their efforts to win round officials from junior coalition partner Democratic Left, which continues to object to proposed changes to labor laws and the abolition of social benefits for families. Some lawmakers in socialist PASOK also harbor objections to the measures.

Samaras?s aim has been to win round Democratic Left so that Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras could present his eurozone counterparts on Wednesday with a deal on a 13.5-billion-euro austerity package and on a package of structural reforms that include the controversial labor laws.

"The problem from this point on is not this or that measure,» Samaras's statement said. «The problem is the exact opposite: what would happen if the deal is not ratified and the country is led to chaos, and how much more painful such a development would be for the Greek people; from an economic standpoint and -- more importantly -- from a political standpoint. These dangers must be averted, and this is now the responsibility of all the parties and each individual deputy."

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