Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will fly next week to Berlin and Paris to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande. Earlier in the week, he will meet Eurozone chief Jean-Claude Juncker, according to Greek and German government officials.
“Our key priority is to regain our credibility by showing our determination,” a government official told Reuters.
Samaras is already preparing public opinion for yet more suffering. “We’re all having a difficult time. There will be more hardship,” he said on Monday from the city of Pylos.
According to Kathimerini, Samaras does not intend to formally raise the issue of extending Greece’s fiscal adjustment programme by two years when he meets European leaders next week but wants to use the talks as an opportunity to sound out his counterparts ahead of some crucial decisions regarding Greece. Sources told the paper that Samaras will only officially ask for an extension at the European Union leaders’ summit scheduled for October 8 and 9, which will be after the troika delivers its report on Greece to Eurozone finance ministers, who will have to decide whether to release further funding for Athens.
Samaras is set to meet with Eurogroup chief and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker in Athens on Saturday. The following Friday Samaras will travel to the Germay for talks with Merkel and to France for talks with Holande the day after.
Sources suggest Greek government sees three stages in its negotiating strategy in view of its key contracts and consultations with the country’s European partners in the next two weeks, with the ultimate goal is for Greece to obtain a 2-year extension to the timetable for bringing down deficit below 3% of GDP and seek an additional funding package for the extra period.
Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras will probably accompany Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in his meetings with French President Francois Hollande in Paris and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
According to media reports, the 3-stage plan provides for:
I) The presentation of a credible package for saving EUR 11.5 billion over the next two years.
II) Approval of the disbursement of the next bailout installment of EUR 31 billion, which depends on a positive report by the troika.
III) The 2-year extension to the fiscal stabilization programme. Sources say the government has drawn up a scenario for the development of the deficit and GDP if the extension is granted, aiming to show that the plan is realistic and will lead to better results.