* Greece to put austerity plan to parliament next week
* Greek government allies yet to support labour reforms
ATHENS Oct 24 Greece has been granted its
long-standing plea for additional time to push through austerity
cuts that have been finalised after months of negotiations, the
finance minister said on Wednesday.
"Today, we obtained the extension," Yannis Stournaras told
parliament, referring to the additional two years to hit bailout
targets that Athens has been lobbying for.
He also said the government would tell European counterparts
that it is ready to put its latest austerity package to
parliament next week after winning additional concessions from
A swift deal on the package is crucial for Greece's efforts
to unlock more aid under its latest bailout, with the country
just three weeks away from running out of cash.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's allies - the small
Democratic Left party and the PASOK Socialists - have yet to
back the austerity package, and will examine the concessions
made before deciding their stance, a party official said.
Both parties have refused to support demands by foreign
lenders to cut wages and reduce severance payments, but have
maintained that they do not want to jeopardise the government or
Greece's place in the euro zone.
Stournaras said Greece would tell the Euro Working Group
meeting Thursday that it had finalised the package after its
'troika' of lenders - the European Commission, European Central
Bank and the International Monetary Fund - made additional
"This morning, after an all-night effort, the troika backed
down on two main issues - severance payments and the notice
period required before a layoff," Stournaras told parliament,
urging Democratic Left lawmakers in attendance to back the plan.
The package will be put to parliament next week in two
separate bills on austerity cuts and labour reforms, he said.
Athens had been trying to clinch a comprehensive deal on the
reforms and spending cuts before the Euro Working Group meeting
begins on Thursday.