More pres­sure piled on Greece

Premier seeks meet­ings with Euro­pean lead­ers as troika sus­pends checks pend­ing fur­ther mea­sures

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

With his gov­ern­ment com­ing un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure from its in­ter­na­tional len­ders, Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou is plan­ning to travel abroad next week with a view to meet­ing French Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Sarkozy and pos­si­bly Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel.

Gov­ern­ment sources re­vealed yes­ter­day that Pa­pan­dreou will be in Paris on Wed­nes­day for a meet­ing of the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (OECD), which will be cel­e­brat­ing 50 years since its in­au­gu­ra­tion. Pa­pan­dreou hopes to hold talks with Sarkozy on the side­lines of this meet­ing.

Sources said that the Greek premier is also seek­ing a meet­ing with Merkel, who ear­lier this week sug­gested that peo­ple in Greece had to re­tire later and take fewer hol­i­days if Ger­many was to con­tinue to par­tic­i­pate in bailout pack­ages.

Her com­ments came at a time when Athens is be­ing pres­sured by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion (much to the cha­grin of gov­ern­ment and op­po­si­tion politi­cians, Eco­nomic and Mon­e­tary Af­fairs Com­mis­sioner Olli Rehn called for po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus in Greece to help push re­forms through), the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank (which said it would stop ac­cept­ing Greek bonds as col­lat­eral if the coun­try re­struc­tures its debt) and its eu­ro­zone part­ners (the head of the group, Lux­em­bourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker, warned yes­ter­day that there are lim­its to sol­i­dar­ity).

The In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund added to this pres­sure through its chief of mis­sion in Greece, Poul Thom­sen, who yes­ter­day in­formed the gov­ern­ment that the lat­est in­spec­tion by the troika, which in­cludes ECB and Com­mis­sion rep­re­sen­ta­tives, would be sus­pended. Sources said the troika of­fi­cials told Athens that there was no point in con­tin­u­ing un­til the gov­ern­ment has drawn up fur­ther aus­ter­ity mea­sures and gets the ball rolling on the sale of state as­sets.

“There is a need for fur­ther tech­ni­cal work,” Com­mis­sion spokesman for eco­nomic and mon­e­tary af­fairs Amadeu Altafaj Tar­dio told Kathimerini.

Greece is ex­pect­ing the fifth in­stall­ment of its loan pack­age, which will amount to 12 bil­lion eu­ros, next month but the troika has made it clear that Athens will have to speed up its work be­fore then. The much-de­layed midterm fis­cal plan is due to be dis­cussed dur­ing a cabi­net meet­ing at the be­gin­ning of next week.

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