Snags remain as troika returns

first_imgWith representatives of Greece’s foreign creditors set to return to Athens last week to assess the country’s efforts at fiscal adjustment, it remained unclear whether the new coalition government is in a position to provide inspectors with the necessary assurances that it is fully behind an ongoing austerity drive. Envoys from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, known collectively as the troika, were due to arrive in Athens on a busy day for the new coalition which was scheduled to convene its Cabinet before submitting the draft budget for 2012 in Parliament. The budget and the revision of a tough program of reforms were expected to be the focus of talks between troika officials, Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos. But even before the resumption of negotiations – which were frozen last month amid the political upheaval that led to the formation of a unity government – a significant obstacle remained yesterday. Just a day after rejecting the demands of EU officials for a written acceptance of the terms of a new debt deal for Greece, conservative New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras appeared to harden his stance further, questioning the reforms that the coalition administration has pledged to see through. Samaras called for “a change to the failed economic policy, a shift toward restarting and overhauling the economy.” Sources in ND said they believed the standoff would be solved when Papademos sends a letter to EU officials with reassurances that the terms of the debt deal will be met. But EU officials also want written guarantees from Samaras and outgoing Premier George Papandreou. Samaras’ insistence on not signing is widely regarded as posturing, chiefly to appease ND MPs who disapproved of his decision to enter a coalition with the outgoing Socialists. Meanwhile, it seemed that Greece’s creditors were not backing down. IMF spokesman David Hawley said the fund was waiting to see “broad political support” before it approves further loans. “We are seeking assurances,” he said. EU officials, including Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker, whom Papademos is to meet in Strasbourg on Tuesday, have struck a similar stance. Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more