Sat, Feb 11, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Greece pushes against demands for budget cuts


A leader of Greece’s governing coalition pushed back against German demands for deeper budget cuts to get the bailout needed to prevent a financial collapse.

In Athens, unions struck for the second time this week and police used tear gas against protesters.

George Karatzaferis, who heads one of the three parties supporting interim Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, said he would not support austerity measures worked out for a rescue. He spoke hours after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers in Berlin that Greece was missing deficit targets.

“Clearly Greece can’t, and shouldn’t, do without the European Union, but it could do without the German boot,” Karatzaferis, whose LAOS party has 16 members in the 300-seat parliament, said on TV.

Emergency talks of eurozone finance leaders broke up late on Thursday night, with Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker saying Greece must turn its budget cuts into law, flesh out 325 million euros (US$428.4 million) in spending reductions and have its major party leaders sign up to the program so they don’t retreat after upcoming elections.

Another extraordinary meeting was set for Wednesday.

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