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A cutback here, and a cutback… where?

Today the Greek media was dominated by various takes on the story that eight ministers have failed to present Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras with cutback plans.

Prime Minister Samaras’ was unimpressed with the lack of resolution and issued a stark warning to his restrained colleagues through his finance minister. Stournaras is quoted as saying: ‘You either go ahead with spending cuts or the prime minister will do it himself.’

Whilst some ministers simply failed to present any cutback proposals, others presented cuts which would exceed the three year implementation guideline, and the rest proposed ‘savings’ – which the troika is unlikely to accept.

The 2013-2014 plans were supposed to represent 11.5 billion euro’s worth of cuts, but back to back cabinet meetings at the finance ministry showed this wasn’t the case.

In a meeting held yesterday Stournaras and his colleagues had discussed details of the cuts but had failed to reach complete agreements.

The respective ministers have proposed cutbacks of a worth no greater than 5.68 billion euro’s, 3 billion of which will be cuts in social benefits. The troika’s next Greek check-up is due to begin on the 24th of July. When the proposal is completed Samaras will need to hold discussions with Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis before submitting it for approval from the troika of lenders on Friday.

Samaras’ government are still hoping that the ECB, IMF and EC will grant them an extension which would add two years to the cuts time frame.

The cuts proposed thus far amount to less than half the amount the troika requested and time is running out.