Con­fu­sion over stances

Rifts ap­pear in both gov­ern­ment and op­po­si­tion about ap­proach to bailout talks

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

As bailout ne­go­ti­a­tions con­tin­ued in Athens yesterday, the gov­ern­ment ap­peared to shift its strat­egy slightly, in­di­cat­ing that some mea­sures might go to a vote in Par­lia­ment be­fore a crit­i­cal Eurogroup sum­mit sched­uled for March 20. Mean­while main op­po­si­tion New Democ­racy ap­peared di­vided over the stance it should as­sume on the prospect of a new round of belt-tight­en­ing be­ing de­manded by Greece’s cred­i­tors.

In com­ments to re­porters at a brief­ing yesterday, gov­ern­ment spokesman Dim­itris Tzanakopou­los said it was “pos­si­ble” that some of the mea­sures be­ing dis­cussed by Greek and for­eign of­fi­cials would be leg­is­lated be­fore the cur­rent bailout re­view is con­cluded. A gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial with knowl­edge of the ne­go­ti­a­tions said Greece would prob­a­bly have to go to the March 20 Eurogroup with the “ba­sic pack­age” of new mea­sures voted into law so that talks on de­ter­min­ing the terms of medium-term debt re­lief can get un­der way with­out de­lay.

The po­si­tion struck by Tzanakopou­los yesterday was in sharp dis­tinc­tion to the stance of Fi­nance Min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos, who has re­peat­edly said that an agree­ment must be reached on all is­sues be­fore the bailout re­view can be signed off. Nev­er­the­less the gov­ern­ment spokesman in­sisted again yesterday that there is no dif­fer­ence of opin­ion be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras and Tsakalo­tos on this mat­ter.

There was also some con­fu­sion in the ranks of ND about the pro­gram re­view. For­mer ND leader Evan­ge­los Meimarakis ap­peared to dif­fer­en­ti­ate his stance from that of cur­rent leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis in com­ments to re­porters yesterday. In con­trast to Mit­so­takis’s in­sis­tence in re­cent in­ter­views that ND will not back fur­ther mea­sures, Meimarakis re­marked that “say­ing ‘I’m not vot­ing’ from a safe dis­tance is tough-guy pos­tur­ing.” Sources in ND played down the ap­par­ent rift yesterday, say­ing that Meimarakis’s com­ments had been a re­sponse to state­ments ear­lier in the day by ND MP Makis Voridis and not a re­ac­tion to com­ments by Mit­so­takis.

Yesterday bailout talks in Athens stalled on the de­tails of an ex­tra­ju­di­cial mech­a­nism for set­tling cor­po­rate debts.

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