ATHENS, Greece - Two days before Greece's international creditors return to Athens to begin talks on keeping the nearly bankrupt country solvent, the new coalition government on Saturday highlighted the main points it plans to renegotiate with lenders, aiming to revoke certain taxes, suspend layoffs in the bloated public sector and extend by two years the deadline for imposing additional austerity measures.
A joint policy statement issued by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, a conservative, and his coalition partners - Evangelos Venizelos, chief of the socialist PASOK party, and Fotis Kouvelis, leader of the moderate Democratic Left party - summarized the new government's chief aim as "tackling the crisis, opening the road to growth and revising the terms of the loan deal without putting at risk the country's European course or its continued presence in the eurozone."
The initiative is aimed at easing public opposition to two years of austerity, which led to big vote tallies in last week's elections for parties opposed to the $170 billion bailout and obliged the more established parties to forge a tenuous coalition. But some of the goals set out in the document are unlikely to please Greece's creditors - the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - whose officials have repeatedly said that there was only marginal room for maneuvering, with an extension of the deadline for meeting fiscal deficit targets the only likely concession.
The chief priorities highlighted in the policy statement - the product of several days of tense negotiations between coalition parties - include the extension of Greece's "fiscal adjustment period" by at least two years, to 2016, so that fiscal targets can be met without further cuts to salaries and pensions.
The blueprint also aims to revoke changes to collective-bargaining agreements in the private sector and ease the burden on taxpayers by ensuring that they pay no more than 25 percent of their income in overdue obligations.
Party leaders want to cancel planned layoffs in the public sector - the three lenders had called for 150,000 jobs to go by 2015 - and reduce a value-added tax on food to 13 percent from 23.
The leftist Syriza party has dismissed the coalition's efforts to win over the public as a "publicity stunt," saying that it will ultimately honor the debt deal.