9 Feb 2012

Greek talks fail

3:18 pm on 9 February 2012

Political leaders in Greece have failed to sign off on an economic reform and austerity programme, the price of a new international bailout for the nation.

Speaking after seven hours of negotiations, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said chiefs of the three parties in his coalition had agreed on all the points to secure the €130 billion bailout, bar one.

However, Mr Papademos said after the talks broke up that he wants agreement to be reached before euro zone finance ministers meet in Brussels later on Thursday.

The BBC reports he met officials from the Pasok, New Democracy and the Laos parties for seven hours on Wednesday to try to secure a deal leading to a fresh bailout package.

Austerity cuts

According to Laos leader George Karatzaferis, the bulk of the meeting was spent discussing the issue of supplementary pensions, which had reportedly been in line for a 15% cut.

The proposals are also reported to include a 20% minimum wage reduction, pension cuts and the sacking of 15,000 public sector workers.

The European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund agreed the draft proposals with the prime minister on Tuesday night.

Eurozone finance ministers are to discuss the next stage of the Greek bailout on Thursday. The deal is worth 130 billion euro ($US170 billion).

The BBC reports Mr Papademos and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos have also been engaged in a separate strand of negotiations with private creditors over a write-off of up to 70% of the value of the money owed by the Greek government.