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Greece tipped to accelerate austerity measures

The Greek government will announce new reform measures on Wednesday, following a meeting with international lenders. The measures could include accelerated dismissals of state workers and cuts to pensions and wages, Greek media reports.


REUTERS - The Greek government will make announcements later on Wednesday on austerity measures it is discussing with its international lenders to save the country from bankruptcy, a government spokesman said.

The statements are expected to be made after a cabinet meeting starting 0830 GMT, in which Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos will present proposals on bringing forward painful austerity measures to appease EU/IMF inspectors.

Venizelos was on a two-hour phone call with senior officials from the EU and the IMF late on Tuesday. The inspectors are pushing Greece to accelerate its austerity and reform drive to release a much-needed disbursement of 8 billion euros of bailout funds next month.

“In the framework of our ongoing negotiations, measures and announcements will be made today afternoon,” Greek deputy government spokesman Angelos Tolkas told state television.

A Finance Ministry official said on Tuesday after the conference call that Greece had agreed to bring forward measures from the so-called "mid-term plan," in which it has committed to slash its budget deficit through 2014 and sell some 50 billion euros in state assets.

Greek media reported on Wednesday that the measures are likely to include accelerated sackings of state workers, pension and wage cuts for civil servants, increases in heating fuel tax and extension of a one-off property tax announced.

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