Prime Minister Antonis Samaras tried on Thursday to get his government to focus on meeting the demands of Greece’s lenders but found himself competing with mounting speculation about the content of the latest version of the so-called Lagarde list.
Samaras returned to Athens briefly on Thursday to chair a meeting of general secretaries from several ministries with the aim of setting priorities for the weeks ahead. The government has its eye on the Euro Working Group meeting of January 14, the meeting of the International Monetary Fund’s executive board on January 16 and the meeting of eurozone finance ministers on January 20 with a view to the disbursal of the next loan tranche being approved.
Sources said the coalition’s main focus over the days to come will be on voting through Parliament a revised tax code, making progress with a more substantial overhaul of the tax system and appointing a general secretary for revenues. Also, the government has to reach a decision on how much electricity rates will increase by from January. Finally, ministers have to issue decisions and circulars to ensure the implementation of structural reforms approved by Parliament last month.
According to sources, Samaras stressed to the officials present at the meeting that they had to do their utmost to ensure Greece retained the trust it had regained with its lenders in recent months.
There is concern within the administration that speculation about the list of some 2,000 Greeks with accounts at HSBC in Geneva could sap the government’s energy. The new version of the list was received from French authorities last week and passed on Thursday by financial prosecutors Grigoris Peponis and Spyros Mouzakitis to the Supreme Court, where prosecutor Yiannis Tentes is due to examine it on Friday.
He will then send the list to Parliament, which is likely to launch its own inquiry. SYRIZA MP Nadia Valavani was forced on Thursday to clarify that she had just been repeating unconfirmed media reports when she claimed that the latest version of the list had 600 more names than the one prosecutors were given by PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos in October. Sources said there appear to be some minor differences between the two lists but no indication of widespread tampering.