May 27 - The Greek government and opposition parties have failed to find a consensus on further austerity measures according to a source, in spite of EU policymakers urging broad political support. Joanna Partridge reports.
Another Greek protest against the government's austerity measures. But for the second consecutive day, around ten thousand citizens camped outside Parliament until late into night. They had organised the demonstration themselves over the internet, rather than being called by political parties or labour unions. SOUNDBITE: Chara, Protester, saying (Greek): "We have reached a point that we don't have jobs, we have nothing, we have no money. I am 22 years old and I have no idea what will happen in the future." The IMF has warned Greece will need a decade to overcome its debt crisis. But ordinary Greeks are angry that they are paying to reduce the debt, and their standard of living has plummeted, when some politicians they view as corrupt and tax evaders are not being held accountable. The protests took place just before Greece's prime minister held talks with opposition leaders in a last-ditch attempt to win their support for more austerity measures in Athens's battle to get out of its debt crisis. Opposition parties have so far rejected the latest policies - they say the measures Greece agreed to in return for its 110 billion euro EU / IMF bailout are stiffling the economy. EU policymakers have warned Greece needs broad political backing for its cuts in order to get the fifth 12 billion euro installment of its bailout. And financial markets were spooked by comments from Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the meetings of euro zone finance ministers, that the IMF could withhold the next aid installment. Without the next rescue package payment, Greece cannot cover an upcoming funding crunch and would go bust. Analysts still expect some kind of restructuring of Greece's debt, and say the debt markets think Juncker's comments were designed to put pressure on Greece to find a consensus. However, late on Friday it seemed that no such agreement was struck. An official from one of the parties participating in the talks told Reuters on condition of anonymity that consensus had been blocked. Joanna Partridge, Reuters