Prime Minister Antonis Samaras made his first public appearance yesterday standing alongside President Karolos Papoulias in the swearing in ceremony of new Finance Minister Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, deputy Minister of State Simos Kedikoglou and Deputy Foreign Minister Costas Tsiaras.
Samaras had his first meeting with EU-ECB-IMF troika representatives at Maximos Mansion during which, according to a brief announcement ￼by his office, he stressed the Greek government’s determination to make the necessary structural changes to get the economy out of recession, create jobs and ensure social cohesion.
According to protothema.gr, the Premier noted that the fiscal adjustment programme has inherent difficulties and that their predictions have not been confirmed. Instead, it has caused greater recession in the Greek economy and we have to take measures toward development and fiscal consolidation.
Samaras will present government policy at the start of a three-day parliamentary debate today and a vote of confidence on the coalition is scheduled to take place late on Sunday.
The key points of the programmatic statements are finalized and only the details remain to be discussed early today in another meeting of the representatives of the three government partners. A discussion of the three yesterday lasted two hours and included issues such as privatizations, labour, layoffs and redundancy in the public sector, mergers and terminations of public sector organizations.
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, told his MPs: “Savage dismissals (of public sector workers) can’t happen and aren’t necessary.”
The government is focusing on the new meeting between Finance minister Yannis Stournaras this Sunday with the troika, as the next day he will travel to Brussels to participate in the eurogroup. The aim of the Greek side is that any decisions on the part of the European partners do not require approval by national parliaments, which will open a new round of discussions on the Greek problem. Government sources said Stournaras will ask for an extension of the fiscal adjustment program.
Meanwhile, according to Financial Times, Greece’s new government has dropped a plan to seek softer terms for its second bailout following warnings that it would be rejected by international lenders. Yannis Stournaras, finance minister, said the governing coalition would have to accelerate reforms before asking for modifications in a EUR 174 billion programme agreed in February with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. “The programme is off-track and we can’t ask for anything from our creditors before we get it back on course,” Stournaras told the Financial Times. “There is light at the end of the tunnel but it is a long tunnel,” he added.
According to a Reuters version, Yannis Stournaras said: “The economy has gone through two difficult elections and the programme is off track in some respects, and it is on track in others,” he told reporters. “The troika people told me jokingly that I’m not going to have a good time at the Eurogroup on Monday,” he said. “I told them I’m aware of that.”