Greek leaders to ask for time to hit loan targets

 

Athens

Fresh from elections in which Greek voters pulled back from the brink of confrontation with its international creditors, the country is set to risk further ire by asking for more time to meet the targets it has been set in return for loans.

While the leaders of three of the main parties said they would announce a deal over a broad-based coalition today, preparations have begun for a critical round of meetings with its European partners.

Most Greeks are expecting some sort of "peace dividend" from Brussels and Berlin after a campaign in which even the pro-bailout parties vowed to renegotiate the terms of Greece's €173bn agreement. Under intense international pressure, the majority of Greeks eschewed parties who wanted to scrap the austerity measures, a move which could have precipitated an exit from the euro.

The conservative New Democracy party, which won most seats on Sunday, and Pasok, its likely Socialist coalition partner, will ask other eurozone countries for an extra two years to meet Greece's fiscal targets. The request would amount to asking for an additional €16bn from Europe, something German Chancellor Angela Merkel has so far ruled out.

"The new government must stick to its commitments, which the country has agreed on," Ms Merkel said at a meeting of leaders from the G20 group of major economies in Mexico.

However, Greece's European creditors are keen to strengthen the support for the new government, which faces huge popular opposition to the tough conditions attached to the international bailout. Both the conservatives and socialist establishment parties made campaign promises to slow the pace of austerity measures, knowing that more time will mean more money from the Troika of the European Central Bank, the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

The cuts in public spending that are needed to take Greece from the five per cent primary budget deficit it now faces to the four per cent surplus it would need to start paying down debt are being asked for against a backdrop of rapid economic retrenchment. The economy is set to contract by seven per cent this year, tax receipts have been decimated by the political chaos and unemployment has reached 22 per cent.

Greek officials told the Dow Jones news agency that they will ask for €6.6bn in aid payments so the Greek state can clear its massive arrears owed to the private sector, such as pharmacies which have, in many cases, stopped supplying medicines.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Designer / Design Director

£38000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B content marketing agen...

Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn