Greek austerity programme is 'non-negotiable': EU official

AFP , Thursday 10 May 2012

European Union official warns that austerity package deal made with Greece is 'non-negotiable', following possible amendments to deal by the new Greek government

The EU-IMF bailout and austerity programme agreed with Greece is non-negotiable; a senior EU official said Thursday as Greek politicians struggled to form a new government after elections.

The official indicated that eurozone finance ministers, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank may accept to discuss minor adjustments to the multi-billion-euro agreement but the central commitments must remain in place.

"The large and small print of the memorandum of understanding is as they are and they have been negotiated," the official said on condition of anonymity.

A new Greek government may want to ask if there could be some changes to the deal and "if you have a different approach, I am sure the ministers will be willing to discuss as would be the IMF and the ECB," the official said.

"But this would be at the outer margins," the official added.

"I would not use the words that every comma is non-negotiable but the MOU as such is non-negotiable."

Greek voters on Sunday punished the country's leading conservative and socialist parties, which negotiated the austerity-for-bailout package, while handing big gains to radical left and far-right parties opposed to the deal.

Greek socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos was tasked Thursday by President Carolos Papoulias with forming a government after efforts by other parties failed in the wake of the inconclusive polls.

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