Greek coalition leaders fail to agree on crucial cuts

Antonis Samaras (C), Fotis Kouvelis (L) and Evangelos Venizelos (AFP Photo / Louisa Gouiamaki)
The leaders of the three parties in Greece's coalition government have failed to agree on a package of spending cuts worth 11.5 billion euro, which the Prime Minister says are crucial to restoring the country’s financial credibility.

On Sunday conservative Premier Antonis Samaras, socialist Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis of the Democratic Left, disagreed on cuts on pensions and wages and decided to meet again Wednesday.

Venizaelos and Kouvelis asked international creditors to give them more time to implement austerity measures, AP says.

"We haven't finished and there hasn't been a specific decision. One thing is certain, I'm pushing for the measures to be just and not uneven," Democratic Left’s Kouvelis  told reporters.

"We cannot touch the disability benefits. We cannot make what we call horizontal cuts in pensions," Venizelos said.

These latest cuts are especially painful to the country's most vulnerable, including pensioners, low-income workers and dependents.

However the cuts are required for the release of the long-delayed 31 billion euro loan instalment, from troika creditors – the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Without the next tranche of it loan Greece risks defaulting on its loans.

The failed talks after thousands took to the streets throughout Greece on Saturday, to protest the drastic budget cuts proposed by the government.

Minor scuffles with riot police took place in Thessaloniki after some youths set rubbish on fire and burned an EU flag.