Greek Leaders Reject Debt Deal
Coalition can't get past pension cuts
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2012 3:23 AM CST
Greece's Prime Minister Lucas Papademos precedes Socialist leader George Papandreou and conservative party leader Antonis Samaras as they arrive at the Maximos Mansion government headquarters.   (Getty Images/AFP)
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(Newser) – The heads of the parties in Greece's ruling coalition emerged from their long-awaited meeting yesterday empty-handed, refusing to accept a new austerity plan. Leaders were willing to accept a 22% cut in the minimum wage and job cuts, but balked at almost $800 million worth of proposed pension cuts, the BBC reports. After talks broke up, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos met with the "troika" of bailout creditors to explain the situation.

Greece's finance minister, meanwhile, is headed to Brussels to try to get European leaders to alter their demands. Papademos had hoped to get the austerity bill approved, but George Karatzaferis and Antonis Samaras stood firm on pensions. Samaras said afterward that he felt he had to drive a hard bargain. "We want to ease the people's suffering," he said. A deal, notes the BBC, must be in place by Wednesday.