Greek PM: 'Till will be empty' in November
on 05/10/2012 09:26:47
Officials from the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank are currently in Greece assessing the country's progress in fulfilling the terms for receiving the aid.
If their report does not clear the way for the payment of the next €31bn tranche of the country's bailout, Greece could be forced to default on its debts and perhaps leave the euro.
It is unclear when a decision will come.
Asked how long Greece can hold out, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was quoted today as telling German daily Handelsblatt that "the till will be empty" by the end of November.
Mr Samaras said he is confident the money will arrive on time, but warned it is "very difficult" to make further cuts to pensions and wages that the country's debt inspectors are seeking.
Greece has relied on bailouts from increasingly impatient international creditors since May 2010. In return, it imposed a punishing austerity programme, repeatedly slashing incomes, hiking taxes and raising retirement ages.
Mr Samaras said Greece is pressing ahead with budget consolidation, working on speeding up privatisation and trying to attract foreign investors. But he conceded that there are difficulties in negotiations with the so-called "Troika" - the EC, IMF and ECB.
"The Troika is demanding above all further cuts to pensions and wages. That is very difficult, because we are already bleeding," he said. "The existing cuts already go to the bone. We are at the limit of what we can expect of our population."
The conservative Mr Samaras leads a three-party coalition government that was put together after two elections earlier this year.
"People know that this government means Greece's last chance," the prime minister was quoted as saying. "We will make it. If we fail, chaos awaits us."