Greek president says citizens have 'given all they can'

Papoulias refuses 'blackmail', troika mission to resume Monday

29 October, 16:58

    Greek president Karolos Papoulias Greek president Karolos Papoulias

    (ANSAmed) - ATHENS, OCTOBER 29 - As another Athens mission by EU-ECB-IMF troika was about to begin for the monitoring of the Greek economic recovery process, President Karolos Papoulias told the country's international creditors that ''the Greek population cannot give any more and will not give in to any blackmail''. The reference was to concerns that troika officials - due to arrive in Athens on Monday - are almost certainly going to call for further wage and pension cuts. The request to the government led by conservative prime minister Antonis Samaras will be to make up for the two billion euros the European technical experts have calculated will be needed for the 2014 budget. The head of state spoke from Salonika, where on Monday he took part in a military parade to commemorate the October 28, 1940, anniversary of when Greece rejected Mussolini's ultimatum to allow Italian troops to deploy in its territory - thereby drawing it into WWII against the Axis Powers. Papoulias said that Greece's move ''was the first anti-fascist victory that awakened a Europe resting on the laurels of the 1938 Munich Accords. Greece has always been in the front line for freedom and human rights. Contemporary Europe must not forget this. Greeks gave their blood and whatever they could (in 1940) and today have given what they could to overcome the crisis. This must be appreciated by Europe. They should not think that we may yield to blackmail''.

    The lack of funds for the budget (which Greeks say totals 'only' 500 million euros), is the thorniest issue of the latest round of talks scheduled to begin on November 4. The troika supports the view that the two billion euros must be covered by bringing in further austerity measures, while Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras has said that the 500 million calculated by his ministry's experts could be found through public spending cuts. Local observers say that the Greek government and the troika are likely to come to blows over other unresolved issues as well, including the financial recovery of companies in which the state holds a stake, such as EAS (defence systems), ELVO (cars) and LARKO (mining and engineering sector); the putting of 12,500 state employees on a mobility scheme as part of controversial public administration reform and the problem of a deficit suffered by social security bodies due to reduced revenues caused by constantly rising employment levels. (ANSAmed).

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