The heads of the three parties in Greece's governing coalition have reached a "basic agreement" on an austerity package for 2013-2014, the country's finance minister says. The cuts are essential if Greece is to continue receiving funds from international emergency loans. The meeting between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and the heads of the two junior coalition parties came a day after more than 50,000 anti-austerity protesters took to the streets of Athens.
It was unclear whether there would be a further meeting between the three. Once they finalize a deal, the measures will be presented to Greece's debt inspectors, whose approval is key for the country to receive the next installment of bailout loans. Debt-crippled Greece is committed to implement a $14.8 billion package of cutbacks for 2013-2014, accompanied by tax reform measures worth a further $2.6 billion. But despite repeated meetings over the past two months, the three party leaders had previously failed to see eye-to-eye on where to make the cuts.