PM wants swift deal with troika on re­turn

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The quick con­clu­sion of talks with the troika is the Greek gov­ern­ment’s main aim once it of­fi­cially as­sumes the ro­tat­ing pres­i­dency of the Euro­pean Union next week.

Greece is due to make its de­but as the holder of the six-month pres­i­dency on Jan­uary 8, when the Col­lege of EU Com­mis­sion­ers will be in Athens for the open­ing cer­e­mony. A to­tal of some 70 Euro­pean of­fi­cials are ex­pected, with the pres­sure on the gov­ern­ment to show that de­spite the coun­try’s on­go­ing eco­nomic prob­lems and ne­go­ti­a­tions with the troika, it can han­dle the re­spon­si­bil­ity of be­ing at the helm of the EU.

“It is a fair op­por­tu­nity for Greece to present it­self as an equal and sov­er­eign mem­ber state of the Euro­pean Union, ca­pa­ble of con­duct­ing the busi­ness of the Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union in the name of all the 28 mem­ber states,” Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and For­eign Min­is­ter Evan­ge­los Venize­los told Eu­ronews in an in­ter­view.

How­ever, the re­turn of troika of­fi­cials, who are ex­pected in Athens on Jan­uary 15, is also weigh­ing on gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials’ minds. Sources said that Sa­ma­ras would like to see the out­stand­ing items with Greece’s lenders, which in­clude this year’s fis­cal gap, to be wrapped up quickly, al­low­ing Athens to fo­cus on con­firm­ing the 2013 pri­mary sur­plus in April and open­ing up talks on debt relief.

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