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Greek coalition locked in austerity talks

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BRIEF: 
Read the text below (see bottom of page) and write a news story as if the news has just broken. Bring in key background and improve the language. 100 words, 20 minutes. Date is Friday, 21 September 2012.

“Greek coalition locked in austerity talks”
-by Tom Davies

Greece’s Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras is still engaged with party leaders over final changes to the country’s proposed spending cuts.

The coalition government is required to reduce the budget deficit by an additional 2.0-2.5 billion euros before the proposals will be accepted by the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund).

There are still lingering concerns that further cuts will have a considerable effect on welfare. The Finance Minister said that “negotiations were difficult” and he was looking to minimize the social costs inflicted on the “poorer strata”.

ENDS

SOURCES:

‘Negotiations continuing’, Finmin says after coalition leaders meet

Friday, 21 September 2012 – Emerging from a meeting between the three party leaders supporting the coalition government, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Thursday confirmed that negotiations with Greece’s creditors are continuing.

Stournaras said that a large part of the austerity package demanded of Greece had been agreed but there were still reservations surrounding certain of the proposed measures, chiefly to do with modernising the state, that had not yet been resolved.
“The negotiation is difficult. We are doing everything possible to minimise the social cost, especially for the poorer strata,” the minister said, expressing hope that the package of measures will soon be finalised.
(Previously the same day)

FinMin briefs PM ahead of coalition leaders’ meeting

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras opined on Thursday that discussions for the finalization of the government’s package of austerity measures would continue for a few more days before final agreement is reached on the package 11.9 billion euro cuts in state spending, and estimated the shortfall between the measures proposed and those demanded by the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Troika at 2.0-2.5 billion euros.

Stournaras was speaking to reporters after he and the government’s economic staff briefed prime minister Antonis Samaras of the finance minister’s talks with the Troika on Wednesday, ahead of a scheduled meeting of the leaders of the three parties — PM and New Democracy (ND) leader Samaras, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis — for continued talks for the finalization of the measures.
The finance minister is due to meet later at the ministry with main opposition SYRIZA officials Yiannis Dragassakis and Efklides Tsakalotos to brief them on the ongoing negotiations with the Troika.
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