Samaras defiant despite pressure
New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras appears to have been unmoved by pressure from his European counterparts to support the government’s austerity measures and insists that the “policy mix” is not correct.
Samaras met the leaders of other European center-right parties in Brussels on Thursday but their comments encouraging greater crossparty agreement in Greece did not sway the conservative leader’s position. In a statement, he said the government’s policy was wrong and his party would not vote for the medium-term fiscal plan on Wednesday.
“I repeated our position that we agree with the targets for fiscal adjustment… but we disagree with the policy mix which has already led us into a deep and protracted recession,” said Samaras, who has expressed concern about how he and his party are being portrayed in the international media.
Earlier, European leaders had called on Greece’s conservatives to adopt a more conciliatory stance. “When it comes to Greece, we call on the opposition to fulfill its historical responsibility,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
Samaras could find himself being upstaged by his former rival for ND’s leadership, Dora Bakoyannis, over the weekend. The central committee of Bakoyannis’s Democratic Alliance party is due to meet today to discuss what position its five MPs will take during next week’s vote.
Sources said it is almost certain that the centrist deputies will not vote against the midterm fiscal plan. There is a possibility they might support it, rather than just declare themselves “present,” in which case the government would not be concerned if a few of its own lawmakers voted against the measures.