Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Cécile Duflot ruffles some feathers

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

  • US demands Russia withdraw aid convoy from Ukraine

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • Gunmen kill scores in Iraqi Sunni mosque attack

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu set to be Erdogan's new PM

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    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)