Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos (the former defense minister appointed to a new post in a cabinet shakeup, and who knows little about finance) is under pressure from labor unions to get a change in austerity measures and under pressure by the EU to not change a thing.

Reuters reports EU tightens squeeze on Greece; banks discuss rollover

Greece’s new finance minister grappled with EU and IMF officials over gaps in his austerity plans on Thursday, with European leaders insisting on deep spending cuts and more tax hikes if Athens wants to secure funds and avoid potential default.

Euro zone governments are meanwhile talking to European banks and insurance companies to try to convince them voluntarily to maintain their exposure to Greek debt when their bonds mature, as part of a possible second rescue for Athens.

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos met inspectors from the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Athens to try to iron out differences over the current bailout program.

“All conditions must be met,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters as he arrived for a summit of EU leaders at which Greece’s crisis will top the agenda.

“If Greece does what it has to do, we will do what we have to do. This is not a threat. It’s just a confirmation that we’re continuing our efforts.”

While Papandreou has expressed confidence over the June 28 vote in public, Slovak Prime Minister Iveta Radicova said he had voiced uncertainty in a private telephone call on Wednesday.

“Papandreou has serious doubts about whether the necessary steps will pass in parliament,” Radicova told the Slovak parliament’s European affairs committee.

Once again it’s important to remember this pissing in the wind cannot accomplish a thing, but make the size of the default bigger later. Of course, the rating agencies are likely to rule the rollover by banks constitutes a default anyway.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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