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
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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: Multi Trade Operative

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exciting position has risen for a Customer ...

Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

Recruitment Genius: Fundraising Manager / Income Generation Coach

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A smart software company locate...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project