Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos plans to convene the nation’s political leaders to seek consensus on the cuts required for a bailout as unions called a strike to protest and European leaders pressed for answers.
While Papademos and the party chiefs have agreed to make further cuts this year equal to 1.5 percent of gross domestic product, they have yet to close gaps over measures demanded by creditors for a 130 billion-euro ($171 billion) rescue. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said “time is running out,” while unions derided the conditions as “blackmail.”
“The salvation of the country, remaining in the euro, means great sacrifices,” Venizelos told reporters in Athens late yesterday after his meeting with the so-called troika of representatives. He described the talks in Athens as a “Hydra’s head,” a reference to the monster in Greek mythology that grew back more heads than the one cut off.
“What is taking place isn’t a negotiation,” GSEE president Yannis Panagopoulos said in an e-mailed statement. “It’s raw, cynical blackmail against a whole people.”