PM, FinMin discuss savings deadlock with troika

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Tuesday met with top-ranking envoys of the country’s international creditors following the failure of the government’s coalition leaders to sign off on 11.5 billion euros in budget savings for 2013 and 2014.

Samaras received representatives of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund at the Maximos Mansion «to clarify certain financial issues,» the premier’s office said.

The meeting was also attended by Stournaras and Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras who worked together to draw up a proposal for the tough package of cuts.

Samaras is reportedly adamant that the government must come up with a blueprint for the 11.5 billion euros in savings without delay in order to secure crucial rescue funding.

But the premier’s coalition partners — — PASOK?s Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left?s Fotis Kouvelis — are suggesting that a different strategy should be followed. Sources told Kathimerini that the two leaders proposed to Samaras that the cuts be split into two parts, with only 6 billion euros of savings for 2013 along with a series of structural reforms. Venizelos and Kouvelis proposed that the remaining 5.5 billion euros in cuts be finalized at a later date, depending on the state of the economy. The PASOK leader,who was to meet with troika officials in a separate meeting at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, also raised the issue of a second restructuring of Greece?s debt.

Ahead of Monday’s talks on the savings, which ended in deadlock, Stournaras reportedly told officials of PASOK and Democratic Left that the country has few choices. ?Either we take the necessary measures or we return to the drachma within two months,? Stournaras was quoted as saying.

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