Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

Europe

Greek conservatives vow to reject any new austerity measures

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-11-14

Greece's conservative leader Antonis Samaras vowed on Monday he will not vote for any new austerity measures in return for a multi-billion euro bailout, a sign that the country's new coalition government may not have the cross-party support it needs.

REUTERS - Greece’s conservative party leader on Monday vowed to reject any toughening of austerity measures in return for a multi-billion euro bailout, signalling the new coalition government may not enjoy the kind of cross-party support demanded by lenders.

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said he would not vote for any new austerity measures and added that the policy mix of spending cuts and tax rises agreed with international lenders should be changed in favour of economic growth.
 
“I agree with the goals to cut government spending ... to reduce debt, to erase the deficit, to make structural changes. I do not agree with whatever stunts growth,” he told party MPs ahead of a three-day confidence debate, starting on Monday.
 
Although Samaras’ party are part of the new administration of former ECB vice president Lucas Papademos, its support for the three-day old government has so far been lukewarm and his backing is crucial for passing legislation needed to satisfy international lenders’ demands.
 
Crucially, Samaras said he would not sign any letter pledging support for conditions on a 130 billion euro bailout as EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn has demanded.
 
“I don’t sign such statements,” he said, adding that his word should be sufficient.
 
His refusal to sign could imperil an 8 billion euro loan Greece needs by mid-December to avoid default.
 
Sarmaras’ hardline stance suggests the continuation of wrangling that pushed Greece to the brink and prompted EU peers to contemplate a euro zone without Greece.   
 
Demo derails delegation?
 
Papademos will unveil his new government’s main policies later on Monday, before a confidence vote he is expected to easily win on Wednesday thanks to backing from New Democracy, the Socialist PASOK party of toppled prime minister George Papandreou and the far right LAOS party.
 
The government’s task in parliament will be to come up with a plan to convince Greece’s rescue lenders that it is worthy of the bailout agreed by euro zone leaders last month before a parliamentary election in early 2012.
 
But while trying to build cross-party support, Papademos must also convince international lenders Greece is willing and able to take further pain in return for the deal that would also wipe out 100 billion euros of private sector debt.
 
Inspectors for lenders, known as the “troika”, were due to meet the new administration following Wednesday’s confidence ballot but uncertainty surfaced over whether they would actually come .
 
Tens of thousands of people angry at more than a year of austerity measures are expected to rally on Thursday, the anniversary of a 1973 student uprising that helped bring down a 1967-1974 military junta.
 
The march could be the biggest in months of protests and would complicate discussions between the “troika” and the new cabinet by shutting down central Athens, particularly as violence has erupted at previous rallies.  “They may come at the end of the week but nothing is fixed,” a spokesman for the European Commission’s mission in Greece said of the troika team, which only last Friday had been slated to arrive early in this week.
 
Without a positive report from the troika, the International Monetary Fund, European Union and European Central Bank may withhold essential loans—most immediately an 8 billion euro tranche the country needs by mid-December to avert bankruptcy.
 
Phone deal
 
Inspectors are responsible for assessing if Greece has hit agreed revenue and spending targets. If Athens slips—as it has repeatedly in the past—or the economy weakens, the troika would have to suggest further tough measures.
 
They will be heartened by news on Monday that the government raised 380 million euros in the sale of mobile phone frequencies -- a fraction of the 50 billion they pledged to raise in privatisations up to 2015, but a start.    
 
The troika is also certain to cast an eye on budget data due out later on Monday that may show a further widening of Greece’s central government deficit in the year to end-October.
 
Contributions to government coffers have dwindled as the economy has shrunk by an estimated 15 percent in the last three years and persistent tax evasion has made for poor revenues.
 
Greece’s jobless rate also jumped to a record 18.4 percent in August, just when hotels and restaurants taking on extra staff during the height of the tourist season should have pushed the rate down.
 
Papademos, a former vice president of the European Central Bank sworn in on Friday to stabilise Greece’s grossly indebted economy, will travel to Brussels on Thursday to meet European finance ministers—a signal of his focus on the economy.
 
The 64-year-old was asked to succeed Papandreou, whose proposal to hold a referendum on the country’s bailout prompted EU leaders to raise the threat of a Greek exit from the currency bloc. 
 

 

Date created : 2011-11-14

  • GREECE

    New PM must implement austerity plan, EU says

    Read more

  • GREECE

    Lucas Papademos, a banker to the rescue

    Read more

  • GREECE

    New Greek prime minister, unity cabinet sworn in

    Read more

COMMENT(S)