Midterm pro­gram on the ta­ble

PM faces tough week of seek­ing po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus for new re­forms to clinch cru­cial tranche of fund­ing

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

As Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou pre­pares for a crit­i­cal week dur­ing which he must push an un­pop­u­lar raft of fresh aus­ter­ity mea­sures through Par­lia­ment, sources have told Kathimerini that the Greek state only has enough cash to pre­vent de­fault un­til mid-July, mak­ing it im­per­a­tive that Greece con­vinces its for­eign cred­i­tors to ap­prove the sched­uled re­lease next month of a fifth tranche of emer­gency fund­ing.

Greece’s eu­ro­zone part­ners, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund have said the re­lease of the 12-bil­lion-euro aid pack­age de­pends on the ap­proval of the gov­ern­ment’s midterm fis­cal pro­gram – a raft of tax hikes, cuts to pub­lic sec­tor spend­ing and an am­bi­tious pri­va­ti­za­tion drive.

In com­ments pub­lished in the Eth­nos news­pa­per yes­ter­day, Pa­pan­dreou said the pro­gram out­lined “se­ri­ous, struc­tural changes” and “guar­an­tees our exit from the cri­sis.”

He is to­day to dis­cuss the pro­gram with the Cabi­net be­fore meet­ing with his po­lit­i­cal ri­vals to­mor­row ahead of the sched­uled sub­mis­sion of the draft re­forms in Par­lia­ment where rul­ing PASOK has a six-seat ma­jor­ity. Talks are to con­tinue on Wed­nes­day with en­voys from the EU and IMF and it is ex­pected that Pa­pan­dreou will make a tele­vised state­ment to the pub­lic be­fore the bill goes to Par­lia­ment. It is also likely that Fi­nance Min­is­ter Gior­gos Pa­pa­con­stanti­nou will make a state­ment re­gard­ing the pri­va­ti­za­tion pro­gram fol­low­ing calls by Eurogroup Chair­man Jean- Claude Juncker for the cre­ation of an in­de­pen­dent body to over­see the process.

Greece’s cred­i­tors are press­ing Pa­pan­dreou to se­cure po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus for the re­forms to ease their ap­proval and im­ple­men­ta­tion. But this will be tough. Com­mu­nist Party leader Aleka Pa­pariga has re­fused to meet with the premier. Mean­while, the head of the main con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion New Democ­racy, An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras, re­it­er­ated over the week­end his op­po­si­tion to the draft re­forms “as a wrong and dead­locked pol­icy.”

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