Monday, 19 March 2018
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PM Samaras says gov't determined to complete its mission

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, addressing the EU summit here on Thursday, stressed the Greek government's determination to complete its mission, according to sources. The same sources said that Samaras will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel at 10:30 a.m. (08:30 GMT) on Friday.

Addressing the Summit, Samaras underlined the sacrifices being made by the Greek people, stressing however that the sacrifices are producing results. He also noted the considerable progress achieved in the country in both the fiscal and structural sectors. He also assessed that the Greek authorities are nearing an agreement with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) troika of Greece's international lenders in the coming days, reminding of the relevant announcement made by the troika. On the question of the disbursement of the tranche for 31.5 billion euros, Samaras stressed the need for it to be paid in its entirety.

The sources added that the Greek prime minister briefed the European Council on the course of privatisations in Greece, the measures in the direction of the opening of the market and the ways of boosting growth.

Samaras also briefed the European Council on the problem of unemployment that has reached extremely high levels, while also referring to the issue of the lack of liquidity and the complications it creates.

Concluding his address, the premier said that Europe must find the "golden mean" between the fiscal and growth effort, as is formulated in the (European Council President Herman Van) Rompuy proposal. He noted that if the "golden mean" between fiscal and growth rapprochement had been applied in Greece from the beginning "we would not have the present results".

Greek diplomatic sources were expressing here on Thursday reserved optimism on the content of the statement that the European leaders are expected to adopt on Greece, while expressing the conviction that the achievement of an agreement with the troika "is very near". The sources stressed that there is agreement on the fiscal measures, while certain open issues remain concerning the structural measures.

As regards the fiscal issues, diplomatic sources reiterated that the measures for 2013 correspond to 9.2 billion euros. They also said that 7.5 billion euros are being saved from cutbacks in salaries, pensions and social benefits over the next two years.

According to the same sources, the budget for 2013 must be submitted and ratified by Parliament before the Eurogroup convenes on Nov. 12, which is expected to decide on the disbursement of the next tranche of the loans, amounting to 31.5 billion euros.

The sources explained that the target of the Greek side is the present summit, in some way, to authorise the Eurogroup to take the decision on the disbursement of the tranche. "We are moving against the clock," the same government sources said.

Lastly, regarding the issue of the viability of the Greek debt, government sources said progress has not yet been achieved and that major differences continue to exist between the IMF and the Europeans. However, they expressed the conviction that a compromise solution will be found.


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