Greek Conservative leader commits to bailout terms
ATHENS THE head of Greece’s Conservative party sent a letter to the country’s international creditors Wednesday committing his party to the terms of the second international bailout – a key requirement for the process to move ahead and prevent a default next month.
Antonis Samaras wrote that his New Democracy party, which along with the Socialists form the governing coalition, is committed to the plan, and that if it wins the next elections expected in April, “we will remain committed to the programme’s objectives, targets and key policies.” Socialist party head George Papandreou sent his letter last night, officials said.
The lack of the written commitment was one reason cited for the cancellation of a meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the Greek rescue. The ministers are to hold a conference call instead, and will meet next Monday.
However, he also stated that policies might have to be modified in order to help the economy recover from the deep recession it is currently in, although he underlined these would not change the ultimate targets in reforming the economy.
“Prioritising recovery along with the other objectives, will only make the bailout programme more effective and the adjustment effort more successful,” he wrote. “Therefore, as my previous letter underlines, policy modifications might be required to guarantee the full bailout programme’s implementation.” It is the second time international creditors have demanded written commitments from Greek party heads, fearing that the policies committed to now could be overturned after the elections.
Samaras stressed that “viable policy alternatives” would be discussed “strictly within the framework outlined by the programme, so that the achievement of its objectives will not be put at risk.”