New Greek government seeks softer terms for bailout | News | DW | 23.06.2012
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New Greek government seeks softer terms for bailout

The new Greek government is seeking an improved deal for its bailout while ministers deal with health issues.

The new Greek government issued a policy document on Saturday aimed at easing the terms of its 174 billion euro ($218 million) European Union - International Monetary Fund bailout deal.

The document proposes tax cuts, additional assistance for the poor and unemployed, a freeze on public sector redundancies and at least two more years to reach budget targets.

Under its loan agreement, Greece has promised to reduce the state payroll by 150,000 civil servants by 2015. Over a quarter of Greece's workforce are currently jobless according to official figures.

The policy document is seen as an attempt to reduce anger in Greece towards the current austerity programme.

On Friday, German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, confirmed to Greece it must fulfill the conditions of its aid programme with no room for manouver on its goal of cutting debt to 120% of GDP.

"Greece must fulfill the conditions of the program," Schaeuble said in Luxembourg. "We must put a program together that people in the world believe can work" he added. "With 120 percent we have been relatively generous."

The new government ministers also have other challenges. Antonis Samaras, the new prime minister underwent successful surgery to repair a damaged retina on Saturday.

Incoming finance minister and former Chairman of the National Bank of Greece, Vasilios Rapanos, 64, was rushed to hospital on Friday before he could be sworn in to his new post. The hospital announced Rapanos has undergone a scanning test with very satisfactory results and that his situation is stable and improving. No further details were available on his illness.

Outgoing finance minister Giorgis Zanias represented Greece at Friday's Eurozone finance ministers' meeting in Luxembourg.

The policy statement is likely to run into opposition at next week’s summit of European Union leaders.

jm/jlw (Reuters, AP)