PM wants re­newed fo­cus

Pa­pan­dreou meets min­is­ters ahead of troika visit but PASOK MP slams gov­ern­ment

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou gath­ered some of his min­is­ters for a pep talk yes­ter­day ahead of a visit this week by of­fi­cials from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund – col­lec­tively known as the troika – in the hope that the gov­ern­ment will con­vince its len­ders that it is do­ing all it can to tackle Greece’s fis­cal prob­lems.

Pa­pan­dreou met yes­ter­day with five key min­is­ters and gov­ern­ment spokesman Gior­gos Pe­talo­tis with the aim of en­sur­ing that his Cabi­net presents a united front dur­ing the troika’s visit and that it is fo­cused on achiev­ing the goals it has set out in its midterm eco­nomic plan. Sources said that Pa­pan­dreou was very keen that the gov­ern­ment should con­vince both the troika of­fi­cials and the rest of the world that it is com­mit­ted to achiev­ing its goals.

Athens has al­ready set out a blue­print for fur­ther pub­lic spend­ing cuts and rev­enue-rais­ing mea­sures, which are de­signed to save 26 bil­lion eu­ros by 2015, and for a pri­va­ti­za­tion scheme that is pro­jected to bring in up to 50 bil­lion eu­ros over the next four years.

These plans will be scru­ti­nized by troika of­fi­cials this week, be­fore top-level rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the EC, ECB and IMF ar­rive in Athens next week to de­cide whether Greece should re­ceive the fifth, 12-bil­lion-euro in­stall­ment of its 110bil­lion-euro emer­gency loan pack­age.

Pa­pan­dreou also wants the gov­ern­ment to en­sure sta­bil­ity go­ing into June, when Par­lia­ment will have to vote on the mea­sures. A num­ber of PASOK MPs have com­plained and the gov­ern­ment may face a fight to win their sup­port. How­ever, sources said that Pa­pan­dreou told his min- is­ters yes­ter­day that he was con­fi­dent PASOK lawmakers would back the re­forms. Nev­er­the­less, he said he would not agree to calls from some par­lia­men­tar­i­ans for the mea­sures to be ap­proved by a qual­i­fied ma­jor­ity of 180 votes out of 300 rather than just a sim­ple ma­jor­ity.

The premier’s op­ti­mism ap­peared a lit­tle mis­placed yes­ter­day if the com­ments of high-pro­file PASOK MP and au­thor Mimis An­droulakis are any­thing to go by. “The state has to be re­duced by 20 per­cent, not these Mickey Mouse mea­sures the gov­ern­ment has adopted,” he said. “There are no plans, ev­ery­thing is up in the air.”

The deputy went on to blame the lack of co­or­di­na­tion on Pa­pan­dreou’s ad­vis­ers rather than on key min­is­ters. “The makeup of this gov­ern­ment is not al­low­ing it to meet the chal­lenges,” he said.

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