Negotiations to wrap up the fiscal adjustment programme with the country’s troika of lenders is “tough and comprehensive,” Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told Ethnos newspaper in an interview published Sunday, but must be completed before the end of the year.
“The political agreement for ‘the day after’ the programme must end conclusively within December,” Samaras was quoted as saying by the the newspaper, “and we are working feverishly to accomplish this… The last negotiation with the troika before the completion of the programme was what we knew it would be – tough and comprehensive.”
Addressing a message to the lenders that Greece “has broken all records in reformation interventions and fiscal adjustments in a minimum of time,” he added that “nobody can criticise us for ‘not having done enough’,” and asserted that Greece will continue to observe the fiscal targets and implement reforms.
At the same time, Samaras sent a strong message to the main opposition about “the day after,” stressing, “We must put a conclusive end to political uncertainty by electing a president of the Republic within the next three months. Because if we do not, this will mean political uncertainty and extensive lack of governance, resulting in the end to an obligatory return to memorandums from much more difficult positions. This would be catastrophic for the country.”
The premier called for political agreement to contribute to stability but said the opposition cannot keep pushing for national elections: “The opposition may have any disagreement it wants over our policies, that is their right; nobody is asking them to change opinion on anything. But they cannot be dragging the country to early elections on the occasion of the presidential elections, leading the way to instability now that we are exiting the crisis permanently.”
He added, “If they want us to reach agreement on how to vote for president all of us together, then national agreement is possible, and I am the first to support it. [But] if they insist on dragging the country to national elections, then what exactly should we ‘agree’ on? How to blow everything up?”
The choices are obvious, he said, either we remain on the path of fiscal health, keeping the fiscal terms and continuing reforms, or return to the era of fiscal deficits and overturn the reforms.