PM to rally troops on pro­gram

Midterm plan to be pe­rused by Cabi­net to­day ahead of sched­uled sub­mis­sion in Par­lia­ment on Wed­nes­day

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou is to­day to chair a cru­cial cabi­net session aimed at get­ting all his min­is­ters be­hind the gov­ern­ment’s midterm pro­gram be­fore it is sub­mit­ted in Par­lia­ment later this week amid re­ports of grow­ing rifts within the rul­ing So­cial­ist party over the tax in­creases and se­vere cuts to pub­lic sec­tor spend­ing out­lined in the pro­gram.

Af­ter to­day’s cabi­net session, the premier and his min­is­ters are to present the pro­posed mea­sures be­fore a session of the party’s po­lit­i­cal coun­cil in a bid to get the vast ma­jor­ity of MPs to back the pro­gram be­fore its sched­uled sub­mis­sion in Par­lia­ment on Wed­nes­day.

Con­cerns about a back­bench re­bel­lion scup­per­ing the gov­ern­ment’s hopes to push the pro­gram through Par­lia­ment have grown since last Thurs­day when a group of 16 PASOK MPs sent Pa­pan­dreou a letter de­mand­ing that the midterm pro­gram be de­bated ex­ten­sively be­fore be­ing put to the vote, not rushed through Par­lia­ment. Greece’s in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors are push­ing in the op­po­site direc­tion; they want the pro­gram pushed through Par­lia­ment as soon as pos­si­ble so that its im­ple­men­ta­tion can be­gin and real progress can be made to­ward rais­ing much­needed rev­enue and curb­ing the coun­try’s huge bud­get deficit.

In an at­tempt to strike a pos­i­tive tone ahead of what prom­ises to be an­other dif­fi­cult week, the gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day up­loaded onto its web­site a link fea­tur­ing a video list­ing its achieve­ments since Oc­to­ber 2009 when So­cial­ist PASOK re­turned to power. “In 20 months we have achieved what has not been done in as many years,” the video said, not­ing that pub­lic spend­ing had been slashed and rad­i­cal re­forms put into mo­tion.

Mean­while, in the wake of talks be­tween Pa­pan­dreou and Eurogroup Chair­man JeanClaude Juncker on Fri­day that paved the way for a sec­ond bailout for Greece, Ger­man news mag­a­zine Der Spiegel re­ported yes­ter­day that the new pack­age could end up cost­ing more than 100 bil­lion eu­ros. An­other Ger­man news­pa­per, Welt am Son­ntag, claimed that the Ger­man Fi­nance Min­istry aims to pro­pose the ex­ten­sion of ma­tu­ri­ties on Greek state bonds. There was no con­fir­ma­tion of ei­ther re­port by the Ger­man min­istry in Ber­lin.

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