Greek PM Antonis Samaras pledges to 'forge ahead' as political crisis rumbles on over closure of state broadcaster ERT

EU finance inspector Olli Rehn calls for political unity to ensure wider austerity measures

Greece's prime minister has said said he hopes to maintain his shaky three-party coalition, despite a rift over the state broadcaster's closure which threatened early elections.

Antonis Samaras said his overriding priority was to persevere with reforms demanded to keep the country's rescue loans flowing.

Last week, Samaras' government announced the closure of ERT, sacking all 2,656 employees. Both Pasok and the Democratic Left - who support Samaras' conservative-led coalition - objected to the decision.

But matters came to a head last night when the Democratic Left party rejected a compromise that Socialist Pasok accepted.

"I want us to proceed all together, as we started," Samaras said in a televised address after negotiations broke down. "But I will forge ahead in any case."

With Pasok, Samaras' conservatives have a slim parliamentary majority that would allow the government to pass key reforms, including the pledged sackings of 15,000 public sector employees by 2015. It was not immediately clear whether the Democratic Left would remain in the coalition.

ERT's payroll costs have fallen since the country's first bailout in 2010. The broadcaster makes money primarily through adverts and obligatory contributions from all Greeks, whether they own a TV or not.

After years of murky finances, the corporation is now turning a modest profit, and critics argue that sacking its entire workforce makes no financial sense, particularly as the government will have to compensate all laid-off workers.

The closure on June 11 sparked days of protests outside the corporation's Athens headquarters, and was sharply criticised abroad. 

Greece's high court sanctioned ERT's closure but condemned shutting off the signal, in a provisional ruling issued this week. Fired ERT employees protested outside the central Athens court on Thursday as judges met to reach their final decision.

Austerity inspectors from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund are reviewing Greece's progress with reforms, and will return to Athens late next month.

Olli Rehn, the European Commission's top man on financial and economic affairs, said: "It is very important that the Greek government and the administration identify the technical work on the fiscal policies and the structural reforms that need to be adopted before the review can be completed."

He argued that recent stability in Athens has yielded encouraging signs of a recovery for the recession-mired Greek economy.

"I do hope for the sake of the Greek people that this stability will be preserved," he said. "I want to appeal to the sense of responsibility of political leaders in Greece."

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice warned that Greece has just over a month to deliver quickly with pledged reforms to ensure smooth release of bailout payments.

"If the review is concluded by the end of July, as expected, no financing problems will arise because the programme is financed till end-July 2014," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Bathroom Showroom Manager / Bathroom Sales Designer

£22 - £25k basic + Commission=OTE £35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Bathroom Sh...

Guru Careers: Marketing Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Digital Marketing Executive (CRM, Eve...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

Recruitment Genius: IT Engineer

£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity now exists for a...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones