Athens wants to ease austerity requirements – and is warned off

Athens wants to ease austerity requirements - and is warned off

"It must be taken into account that more flexibility in the timing of implementation also means more financial efforts by the member states," EU council president herman van rompuy told "welt am sonntag".

Just before important negotiations, two key figures of the new government dropped out of the meeting. Prime minister antonis samaras has to stay at home for a week after eye surgery and cannot attend the EU summit. Finance minister-designate vasilios rapanos also has to take it easy after a fainting spell. The troika of international lenders therefore postpones its trip to athens, according to greek reports. Possible new date could be 2. July, a finance ministry official told the dpa news agency in athens.

The controllers of the lenders of the EU, the european central bank (ECB) and the international monetary fund (IMF) want to make a cash grab and start consultations with the new government. On thursday and friday, the european debt crisis is on the agenda of the eu summit in brussel. At the same time, minister dimitrios avramopoulos represents the bankruptcy-threatened country.

The government in athens wants to take the path to more growth and change parts of the austerity pact, according to the introduction to the coalition agreement, which was made public over the weekend. The aim is neither to deviate from the european course nor to jeopardize greece’s remaining in the euro zone.

However, "injustices that have occurred in the past few years with regard to pensions and small salaried employees will be corrected. Unemployment benefits to be paid for 24 months instead of the current one year. With all the streamlining of government structures, there should be no more layoffs.

The number of government employees is to be gradually reduced by filling only one out of ten positions that become vacant due to retirement. The austerity pact so far envisages that some 150,000 state employees will be laid off over the next two years.

The wave of refugees is to be stopped as far as possible by tighter controls. Migrants are to be distributed throughout the country and not only live in run-down neighborhoods of athens and other cities.

A large majority of the 254 million citizens in the four most important euro countries – germany, france, italy and spain – are convinced that greece will never pay back the money it borrowed during the euro crisis. This was the result of a representative survey conducted by the french ifop institute for "bild am sonntag", "le journal du dimanche" (france), "corriere della sera" (italy) and "ABC" (spain).

According to the agreement, 85 percent of the french, 84 percent of the germans, 72 percent of the spanish and 65 percent of the italians expect that their countries will never see the money lent to greece again. As a consequence, a large part of the population supports the exclusion of greece from the euro zone – 78 percent in germany, 65 percent in france, 51 percent in spain and 51 percent in italy. 49 percent.

Federal finance minister wolfgang schauble (CDU) urged the greek government to quickly implement the agreed savings and reform measures. "It must now be the most important task of the new government of prime minister samaras to implement the agreed program quickly, immediately and without dragging its feet, instead of asking again what more the others could do," said schauble.

CSU chairman and bavarian minister president horst seehofer rejects calls to postpone austerity measures for at least two years. In an interview with "bild am sonntag," seehofer says: "I don’t see any point in playing for time. For germany, this means billions of euros in additional burdens."

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