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All on the line for Papademos ahead of talks with leaders

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is preparing for a make or break meeting with Greek political leaders amid unconfirmed reports that he is considering resigning if the three parties in his coalition government cannot agree on the set of reforms Greece should adopt so it can qualify for more loans.

Papademos is expected to meet PASOK’s George Papandreou, New Democracy’s Antonis Samaras and Giorgos Karatzaferis of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) on Saturday. The three politicians will have to agree on measures that will satisfy Greece’s lenders and pave the way for a new bailout.

However, a number of sticking points remain. One of the main issues on which the party leaders are finding it difficult to agree is the private sector wage reductions that are being demanded by the troika of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Sources told Kathimerini that the troika is demanding that the minimum wage of 751 euros per month (gross) be reduced and that labor costs in the private sector drop by 25 percent in a bid to help Greece regain competitiveness.

Labor unions and employers wrote to Papademos on Friday to inform him that they cannot agree on a wage cut.

Papademos needs the agreement of the political leaders so the prospect of Greece receiving a new bailout can be discussed at the meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Monday.

Greece will have to set out the measures it plans to take over the next two years to reform its economy and create a primary budget surplus as well as the framework for the debt restructuring agreement with its bondholders.

Skai TV and radio reported on Friday that should the leaders fail to agree a deal, Papademos will tender his resignation on Monday.

Speaking to Bloomberg, government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis denied that Papademos is considering quitting.

ekathimerini.com , Friday February 3, 2012 (17:19)  
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