Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Monday ruled out a breakthrough in austerity negotiations with the country’s creditors before a European Union summit later this week.
The government had hoped to finalise a deal with the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), collectively known as the troika, on a series of highly unpopular cuts totaling 13.5-billion-euros (17.4-billion-dollars) before the October 18 summit.
Stournaras said a deal before then “would be difficult.”
He said negotiations would continue immediately afterward to try to bridge differences on spending cuts, which include the immediate firing of 15,000 public servants, and additional salary and pension cuts.
Stournaras said that despite the delay in clinching a deal, Athens should expect to receive the next tranche of loans by mid-November.
After two years of austerity, nearly one in four Greeks is unemployed, according to official figures.
Greece’s main public and private sector unions called a new 24-hour national anti-austerity strike for October 18, dpa reported.
The strike, led by the country’s two trade unions, the private sector GSEE and the public sector ADEDY, will be the second to take place in less than a month.
Athens must meet the demands of the troika if it hopes to receive the next tranche of 31.5-billion-euros in bailout funding by November.