Sa­ma­ras comes un­der EU pres­sure

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The leader of the main con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion New Democ­racy, An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras, yes­ter­day came un­der ad­di­tional pres­sure from Euro­pean Union of­fi­cials who urged him to reach a po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus with Greece’s So­cial­ist gov­ern­ment on a new raft of aus­ter­ity mea­sures aimed at sav­ing the coun­try from de­fault.

In a writ­ten state­ment, Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Her­man Van Rom­puy urged Sa­ma­ras to “ur­gently” co­op­er­ate with the Greek gov­ern­ment. Fol­low­ing talks with Sa­ma­ras in Brus­sels, Van Rom­puy re­it­er­ated the EU’s readi­ness to con­tinue sup­port­ing Greece but said he also ex­pected “broader po­lit­i­cal back­ing from all sides” for the coun­try’s aus­ter­ity drive.

The pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, Jose Manuel Bar­roso, was equally firm in a state- ment he is­sued af­ter his talks with the ND leader, call­ing on Sa­ma­ras to “prac­ti­cally com­mit to ef­forts to reach a broad na­tional con­sen­sus.”

A source close to Sa­ma­ras con­firmed that the Greek op­po­si­tion leader and the Euro­pean of­fi­cials had not seen eye-to-eye. “There were no grounds for agree­ment what­so­ever,” the source told Kathimerini.

On Tues­day, French Prime Min­is­ter Fran­cois Fil­lon urged Sa­ma­ras to “sup­port the new struc­tural plan be­ing ne­go­ti­ated by the Greek gov­ern­ment” and em­pha­sized “the need for Greek po­lit­i­cal forces to show re­spon­si­bil­ity at this cru­cial time.”

Sa­ma­ras has re­sisted over­tures from the Greek gov­ern­ment for con­sen­sus, propos­ing in­stead his own al­ter­na­tive fis­cal pro­gram fea­tur­ing tax cuts rather than hikes.

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