Greece draft budget submitted with deep austerity cuts


Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras leaves the Prime Minister's office after a meeting with the IMF and EC officials in Athens on October 1, 2012.


Aris Messinis

The Greek government submitted a new draft budget Monday that includes drastic austerity measures.

The new spending cuts on pensions, healthcare and salaries is aimed at securing another 31.2 billion euros in bailout money from the EU after meetings on Oct. 18.

Greece is hoping to shrink its budget by 4.2 percent of GDP in the new budget, the Economic Times reported, which is the equivalent of about 8 billion euros.

With massive cuts over the last few years, the Wall Street Journal reported that Greece is aiming to have a small surplus of 1.1 percent by next year — the first in a decade.

Harsh cuts will, however, ensure that the economy shrinks another 3.8 percent this year, according to the Journal, representing the sixth straight year of decline.

This will mean that the country's economic output will have been reduced by a quarter since 2008.

According to the Financial Times, Greece's deputy finance minister, Christos Staikouras, said that the new 2013 budget reflected “conditions of deep and extended recession, high unemployment, and a domestic financial squeeze amid uncertainty in the European and global environment.”

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The budget draft was unveiled Monday after the country's finance minister, Yannis Stournaras, met with officials from the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and with European Central Bank inspectors, who sanction the cuts and decide if they are sufficient.

"We must hold on tight to the helm to make the difficult turn," Stournaras said, reported Reuters.

"It's the only way for the Greek economy to return to the righteous cycle of fiscal stability and growth."

But Greece's labor unions were not impressed.

After violent protests last week, the unions vowed to continue walkouts and strikes, which have roiled the recession-beaten nation for the last few years.

Greece's Prime Minister, Antonis Samas has said, according to Reuters, that this is the last round of brutal cuts but many wary Greeks are no longer willing to trust their government's words.