PM calls ministers’ meeting for Saturday

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has called an emergency meeting on Saturday morning with the ministers in his cabinet who are responsible for crucial sectors that are due to undergo significant changes under Greece’s fiscal adjustment program.

Ministers holding key portfolios such as those of finance, labor, health and administrative reform in Greece’s three-party coalition government will meet on Saturday to discuss the new package of measures required by the country’s foreign creditors — the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, collectively known as the troika — for the disbursement of 31.5 billion euros worth of funding.

The prime minister is striving to lock down a deal with his junior coalition partners — socialist PASOK’s Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left’s Fotis Kouvelis — by Sunday over the reforms being demanded.

Democratic Left has insisted on an improvement in the terms concerning labor reforms that it staunchly opposes, while Venizelos also said on Friday that he will not back certain cutbacks to social security benefits while a number of PASOK deputies have said they will not vote for some of the privatization bills.

Samaras hopes to have a deal to present to the Euro Working Group (EWG) of eurozone finance ministry officials, who will convene on Monday to discuss whatever conclusions Athens has come to and prepare a blueprint for the Eurogroup of euro area finance ministers to discuss on Wednesday via video conference.

The prime minister appears determined to have the measures passed through Parliament next week, in either one or two draft laws.

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