Calamos Supports Greece
GreekReporter.comGreek NewsEconomySamaras Gives EU a Letter, but Not a Contract

Samaras Gives EU a Letter, but Not a Contract

New Democray leader Antonis Samaras says he won't sign a bailout deal for Greece

ATHENS – With pressure building on him to sign a bailout deal that would give Greece $175 billion more – plus the release of a delayed $11 billion loan from a first rescue package of $152 billion – New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras has instead sent a letter to European officials saying he supports Greece getting the money, but not the attached austerity measures that have plunged the country into a seemingly-unstoppable deep recession.
Leaders of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank Troika have insisted he must sign the second bailout agreement reached in October before then Prime Minister George Papandreou resigned to make way for a temporary coalition government of his ruling PASOK Socialists, Samaras’ Conservatives, and the far Right-Wing LAOS party headed by George Karatzaferis, who earlier said he would do “everything necessary” to secure crucial loans, but now said he wouldn’t sign either and instead would write a letter in his party’s newspaper as proof he would support the deal. Samaras, who agreed to drop his opposition to the bailout schemes this month in return for the coalition government, has stood against the austerity measures that come with the money and said his word should be good enough.
It was unclear whether the Troika officials would accept the letter as proof of Samaras’ commitment as they have demanded he sign the contract which stipulates the terms of the deal, including a 50 percent write-down for much of Greece’s debt. Without the money, and the stalled $11 billion installment, Greece will run out of money by Dec. 15, officials said, and be unable to pay workers and pensioners, putting Samaras in a tough political position. Analysts said he is aiming for February elections and doesn’t want to be tied to the unpopular bailout and pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and layoffs that spurred social unrest and brought down Papandreou.
In his letter, sent to the heads of the European Commission, the Eurozone of the 17 countries using the euro, the ECB and IMF, – similar to one he sent to the Conservative European People’s Party – Samaras said New Democracy will back the interim administration, led by economist Lucas Papademos, to carry out the decisions reached at the October eurozone summit – “and to implement the economic policies linked to those decisions,” but said some of the polices need to looked at again. “On the evidence of the budget execution so far, we believe that certain policies have to be modified, so as to guarantee the Program’s success. This is more so, since according to the latest European Economic forecasts, Greece in 2012 will be the only European country with 5 consecutive years in recession!” it said.
Foreign officials have demanded a written pledge from Samaras that his party will back a fresh package of austerity measures in order to release the next tranche of aid to the debt-wracked nation. “The Greek question hasn’t been cleared up yet, because the conditions are not in place for the payment of the next tranche,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech to the German Parliament “For that to happen… we need not only the signature of the Greek premier but also those of the parties that have agreed to support the government. Otherwise there can be no payout of the sixth tranche,” referring to the $11 billion installment, she added.
Jean-Claude Juncker, leader of the Eurozone of the 17 countries using the euro, which includes Greece, said written proof of the commitment of the coalition is necessary to release the delayed loan and for a second bailout, which also provides Greece a 50 percent reduction in much of its debt. “Would there be no cross-party agreement, that disbursement of course could not take place,” Juncker said. That could cause Greece to default and maybe topple the rest of the Eurozone and roil European, American, and world markets.
“Our partners demand written commitments. They want political leaders to send a letter of commitment over the policies which will be implemented in the coming years,” Papademos said after talks with Juncker in Luxembourg. “There is enough money for another 20 days,” a senior Greek government official said on Nov. 22. “Without the loan tranche we will default on the 2.8 billion euros bond payments in December and we won’t be able to pay out salaries and pensions. The situation is very serious and this issue has to be settled …”
Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said his country would bar further aid unless Samaras gives in. “We want to see a signature from Mr Samaras… otherwise, as far as I am concerned, they will get no money. Absolutely not.”  He added, “It has to be clear that there is also commitment from the largest opposition leader (Samaras) to implement. . . reforms. Saying that words are enough, we have passed that stage. We want a signature from this Mr Samaras. Otherwise they (Greece) won’t get money.”
(Sources: Kathimerini, AP)

See all the latest news from Greece and the world at Contact our newsroom to report an update or send your story, photos and videos. Follow GR on Google News and subscribe here to our daily email!

Related Posts