Papademos says parties agree on reforms, measures

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said Sunday there is an ?absolute convergence? of opinions between the three parties in his interim government on the measures that need to be taken by Greece to stave off bankruptcy.

Papademos on Sunday met with PASOK chief George Papandreou, New Democracy president Antonis Samaras and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader Giorgos Karatzaferis to discuss the progress of Greece?s debt restructuring talks but mainly to obtain the politicians? approval for the next set of reforms and austerity measures Greece will have to adopt to obtain further loans from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

In a statement issued after the meeting Sunday, Papademos indicated that there was common ground between the three leaders.

?The political leaders and I have absolute convergence over the continuation of the negotiations and the positions that we will support,? said the premier. ?We are persuing an agreement with our partners so we can stand on firm ground again, so the uncertainty can end, so trust can be restored and the economy can return to a course of growth and job creation.”

Papademos was due to fly to Brussels immediately after the talks for Monday?s EU leaders? summit. Sources indicated that the prime minister wanted to go into the meeting with his European counterparts with the full backing of the three coalition parties for the steps being demanded by the troika officials currently in Greece.

Some of the measures being proposed by the troika, including a reduction to private sector wages and further trimming of supplementary pensions, are known to have met with the disapproval of the three coalition parties. However, Papademos?s statement seemed to suggest that the coalition partners were willing to back the necessary reforms.

?The unity of the political forces and their commitment to support the necessary changes is an essential factor of trust, it boosts the effectiveness of economic policy and allows us to negotiate with better terms,? said Papademos Sunday.

?We are fighting hard together to secure the country?s position in Europe and the euro and the community of developed countries,? added the prime minister. ?United, we can succeed.?

Papandreou, Samaras and Karatzaferis did not make any comments after the meeting.

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