Not only did Greek leaders admit on Thursday that they haven’t been adhering to their austerity obligations, but they also discussed the possibility of retroactively amending the budget-slashing portions of their $130 billion rescue package.
“Trying to take advantage of a shift in Europe towards more growth-friendly policy measures, the government is pressing to soften the punishing terms of a bailout that is keeping Greece solvent but also driving it deeper into recession,” Reuters reports.
Back when Spain scored itself a no-austerity bailout worth billions of dollars, we called this. We knew Greece would go back and try to get the same deal.
Pressure has been building on Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to steer the country away from budget-cutting measures and towards increased government spending as a means of alleviating its debt burden.
Because you can spend yourself out of debt, right?
The Reuters report continues:
The mission from the troika is reviewing Greece's faltering progress on fiscal adjustment and reform under a 130 billion euro ($162.6 billion) bailout deal.
With the economy in its fifth year of recession and almost one in four Greek workers jobless, the government says the austerity has become intolerable.
But without the next 31.5 billion euro ($39 billion) installment of bailout funds, Greece risks running out of cash within weeks.
The aforementioned pressure on Samaras has led him to seek “targeted tax cuts, a freeze on public sector layoffs, extra help for the poor and unemployed” and an extra two years to figure out Greece’s shattered deficit.
"The prime minister underlined that the Greek government is determined to proceed more effectively towards fiscal adjustment, to speed up structural reforms so that the economy recovers, jobs are created and to secure social cohesion," Samaras's office said in a statement.
in Athens, Sunday, June 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
While EU leaders are open to the idea of giving Greece a little more time to fix its deficit (because, after all, the country's government did lose an awful lot of time dealing with two separate elections), they won’t back down from the main tenets of the $130 billion bailout agreement.
"In Stockholm, Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg said on Swedish Radio on Thursday there was a major risk Greece would fail to fulfil its obligations to its lenders and end up in 'some sort of default,'" Reuters reports.
Needless to say, Germany is skeptical of Greece's proposals.
"Prime Minister Samaras will present his government's policy at the start of a three-day parliamentary debate on Friday. A vote of confidence on the coalition is scheduled to take place late on Sunday," the report adds.