NEWS

Final stretch for Greece before Eurogroup

Eurozone finance ministers will hear of Greece's progress in the implementation of reforms in a conference call scheduled to take place on Wednesday. The country's case will be presented by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras. Prior to Wednesday's group call an Eurogroup Working Group meeting on Monday focused on the cash-stripped country and was set to discuss the sustainability of the country's debt.

At the same time the country's coalition partners were engaging in new discussions a few hours after representantives of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, collectively known as the troika, rejected calls by Democratic Left, a junior partner in the three-party coalition, for the revision of certain labor reforms.

Democratic Left and troika officials clashed over the lenders' objection to withdraw a plan axing a 10 percent salary hike employees get when they marry, as well as allow a national wage agreement to apply to all employees rather than solely to those who are members of unions.

At the core of the ongoing negotations between the government and the troika lies a 13.5 billion euro package of spending cuts and tax reforms demanded by the country's creditors in order for them to unleash a new tranche of bailout funding.

Democratic Left has said it will vote against the new austerity measures when they are put to a parliamentary vote.

Objections to some of the labor reforms have also been voiced by certain Socialist PASOK deputies, while the party's leader, Evangelos Venizelos was expected to convene a meeting of PASOK MPs on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Democratic Left head Fotis Kouvelis were expected to have a telephone discussion on Monday, Skai reported on the same day.

A revised 2013 budget was expected to be submitted to Parliament this week, while the new austerity measures were also expected to be voted in Parliament by November 5.

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